Claire Jarema headed to Bryant; Anna Lehman going to Lehigh
NEWTOWN – Council Rock North girls lacrosse experienced a proud moment a recently when two of its players committed to Division I programs.
Both two-year co-captains and both starting midfielders for the past three years, senior Claire Jarema is headed to national power Bryant University while classmate Anna Lehman is going to Patriot League powerhouse Lehigh.
Coach Krista Dayton-Ventresca says the Bulldogs are getting a fantastic player in Jarema.
“She’s fast as a whip – probably the fastest player I’ve ever had on my team in close to ever,” said Dayton-Ventresca. “In lacrosse, speed kills so that was an awesome asset.”
That speed helped Jarema lead the Lady Indians with 72 goals last season.
“She has the most stats because she’s the most active player on the field,” the coach added. “I know other coaches tee up their game plan with her in mind because she’s so effective on the offensive end.”
The coach continued.
“Her stick work is excellent. She’s a groundball hog. She’s smart and selfless; she’s really indispensable.
“You can’t replace a Claire Jarema.”
Jarema also garnered interest from programs at UConn and High Point but knew Bryant was where she belonged.
“Even if I had gotten offers from the other schools, I knew I wanted to go to Bryant,” explained Jarema. “So when they offered, I committed right away.
“I am really excited to go there.”
Lehman also had interest from James Madison, Lafayette, Brown and UConn. “Lehigh was my top school so when they offered me, I accepted,” she said.
Lehman also had an offer to play field hockey but decided lacrosse was where her heart lies.
“I’ve played lacrosse a lot longer so it’s more familiar to me,” said Lehman. “And I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to play field hockey at the college level.”
Both Lehman and Jarema play the game year-round with the former playing club at Phantastix and the latter playing at Ultimate Goal Lacrosse.
Jarema made third team All-Suburban One National League honors as a sophomore but garnered first team honors last year.
Lehman has made second team honors the past two seasons. Her coach says Anna has somewhat of a split personality.
“Anna is the sweetest soul off the field,” said Dayton-Ventresca. “But you put her on the field and she turns into an animal.
“She sets up plays, wonderfully. She has great vision on the offensive end and she also works real hard on the defensive end.”
Lehman was also a top scorer for the Rock last season, netting 50 goals and 26 assists as a junior, helping North reach the District 1 Tournament for the second time in three campaigns.
“Since lacrosse isn’t really a common sport around here, we don’t get a ton of girls but we do the best we can with what we have,” explained Lehman. “It’s really a lot of fun.”
Jarema was having fun in January playing the indoor version of this game at SMG SportsPlex when the worst scenario for her senior season unfolded. She tore her ACL and is out for the season.
Jarema explains how the disaster struck.
“I just shot the ball and since I can’t run into the crease, I had to turn and go the other way,” said Claire. “All of a sudden, I felt three pops and went down.
“I’ve cried many times. Obviously, it’s very hard not being able to play my final year here.”
Jarema is grateful for her time at North and thankful she has four years of lacrosse waiting or her at Bryant.
“Playing here at North has helped me grow into a leadership position,” said Claire. “It helped me realize that I needed to step it up, help other girls know where they need to be on the field.”
Jarema has been an offensive force to be reckoned with ever since she stepped onto the field for Rock North. Her first year, she netted 25 goals, followed by a 43-goal campaign as a sophomore.
After sitting out her senior year in high school, she’ll hope to get onto the field right away at Bryant. Her coach sees Jarema being utilized on offense by the Bulldogs.
“They’ll use her where it makes the most sense for their strategy and their team but I can’t see her not running the field,” said Dayton-Ventresca.
While Krista will surely miss Jarema’s presence on offense in the current campaign, she’s pleased Claire has four more years to play the sport she loves.
“She has four good years ahead of her and I’m sure she’s only going to get better,” the coach commented.
Lehman was also an offensive force right away at North, netting 37 goals and 13 assists as a freshman and 36 goals and 19 helpers her sophomore year.
NOTES: CR North senior Sabrina Crane has also committed to Bryant for softball. “Not a lot of people go to Bryant from Pennsylvania so it will be really nice to at least know someone from back home,” said Jarema. Bryant is located in Smithfield, Rhode Island.
TOP PHOTO: Council Rock North senior Claire Jarema, center, has committed to Bryant University women’s lacrosse in Smithfield, Rhode Island. She and classmate Anna Lehman, who is headed for Lehigh, are taking their lacrosse games to the Division 1 level.