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Conestoga long stick middie Joe Walton is Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week

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The Conestoga senior long-stick middie and co-captain has been a key member of the Pioneer squad the last couple of years. Last year, he was the Pioneers’ highest defensive goal scorer, as Conestoga advanced to the PIAA state championship final. He is a member of the Pioneers’ man-down squad, and according to Conestoga head coach Brody Bush, “continues to be a shutdown defenseman who is great in transition.” Off the field, he is president of Conestoga’s Fishing Club and Ski/Snowboard Club, is a secretary for Student Council and a member of Model United Nations.

Q: What in your opinion are the most important attributes of a good long stick middie?

A: In my opinion, the most important attributes of a good long stick middie is stickwork and lacrosse IQ. Having good stickwork as a defenseman can really set you apart from others and help you become a very versatile player. Lacrosse IQ is equally  important in my opinion because long stick middies have to have the knowledge to be able to play defense, transition, and offense. Having a good IQ also helps me and my teammates better understand our opponents. 

Q: This is your second year as a long stick middie. What attracted you to the position?

A: I used to be a short stick middie up until my junior year. I was always more of a defensive-minded midfielder, and actually started scoring more goals when Coach Bush moved me to long stick middie. I love the position because I have the opportunity to take the ball away, score goals, and be a member of our man-down squad.

Q: You were recently named a team co- captain. How do you think you can best display needed leadership as a captain (as compared to the on-field leadership you already display as a two-year starter at LSM)?

A: I was extremely honored when Coach Bush named me as a captain of the team. To me, being a captain means that I have to prepare my teammates mentally before every game and keep everybody in the right mindset during play. I do this by giving a pregame pump-up speech to our defense, then to the whole team before we take the field. It also helps that the two other captains, James Reilly and Drew Mullen, are two of my best friends. We work together really well and strive to be a good model for the team.

Q: What (in your opinion) was your most memorable goal you scored last year? Can you describe it for us – how the play evolved, your role in it?

A: My most memorable goal from last year was during our PIAA state semifinal game against Mount Lebanon. I scored the first goal of the game which really set the pace for our win. My teammate Sean Bailey picked up a ground ball on the defensive end and we ran up the field parallel to each other. He drew a Mount Lebanon defenseman toward him and passed me the ball for a 12-yard shot. I shot high, hitting the top right corner. Other than that, I really enjoyed my first goal as a long stick middie against Central League rival Springfield.

Q: What was your most memorable experience with the team last year – can you share it with us?

A: My most memorable experience from last year was our first game against Calvert Hall (Md.) We won this game in overtime, which put Conestoga’s name on the top 25 list of high school lacrosse teams in the nation. This game set the pace for the rest of the season and helped us have confidence and work hard every day. I will never forget the intensity we had the entire game, and the unbelievable sense of camaraderie after the game in our locker room.

Q: What do you think is the best part of your game, and what are you working on most currently?

A: I believe the best part of my game is my transition play in the open field during fast breaks. I have pretty good stick skills and love shooting from far out. Although, recently, I have been getting many more assists than goals this season. Currently I am working most on my man-to-man defense. I have been focusing most on creating defensive plays and helping the defense come up with critical stops.

Q: Who have been your biggest lacrosse mentors, and what was the most important thing each of them taught you?

A: My biggest lacrosse mentors are my coaches. Coach Bush and Coach Gratton have taught me nearly everything I know. Coach Bush has taught me the importance of valuing the ball and Coach Gratton has help grow my lacrosse IQ immensely with positioning and rotations. Furthermore, I would like to recognize Mr. Nagle, a team parent who has been a lacrosse mentor of mine since youth league. He taught me everything from how to pick up a groundball to how to be tougher than your opponents. I know that if I ever have a question or need help, these people will be willing and ready to assist me.

Q: You wear No. 29 for Conestoga. Was there a reason you chose this number – does this number have any significance to you?

A: I really just picked this number randomly my sophomore year. Prior to that, I haven’t always been number 29. I am a big fan of it now though and would pick it in the future.

Q: What do you think you would like to major in at college? Is there a career path that particularly interests you at the present time?

A: I am not sure what I would like to study in college, but I love social interactions and being around people. Other than that, I enjoy working with my hands and am interested in contracting and architecture.

Q: You mentioned that you’d like to make a personal statement regarding your selection as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week.

A: I am extremely honored to the the Main Line Boys Athlete of the week, but would also like to recognize my teammates. This is the closest I have ever felt with a team and consider everybody in the locker room a friend. Without them I wouldn’t have grown into the player I am today and can’t wait to see what we accomplish this season.

Fun facts – Joe Walton

Favorite TV show: Game of Thrones.

Favorite movie: “Roadhouse, with Footloose at a close second.”

Favorite athlete: Drew Mullen.

Favorite pre-game pump-up song: TNT AC/DC.

Favorite team: Conestoga boys’ lacrosse team.

Favorite place to visit: “Alabama, hunting with my Dad and brother.”

Favorite pre-game meal: Venison sausage.

Person I most admire: “My eighth grade teacher and lacrosse coach, Mr. Davis. He has had a huge impact on my life and taught me valuable lessons in hard work and determination.”

Siblings: sisters Chrissy and Terri, brother Jimmy – all Conestoga graduates and lacrosse players.

To view a gallery of the Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week from 2013 to present, click here

(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)

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