As one of the fastest growing sports on the West Coast, Eric Rubak picked up his first lacrosse stick beginning in the fifth grade.

“My good friend was playing lacrosse…and my mom, like most moms, wanted me to start a sport,” says Rubak. “I decided [on] lacrosse, and since then, I’ve loved it.”

A recent graduate of Santa Margarita Catholic High School, Rubak played defense for the varsity Eagles and capped off his senior season with a number of honors, including being named All-American, 1st Team All-County, 1st Team All-League and Trinity League Defensive MVP.

The 18-year old also helped to lead Santa Margarita to a Trinity League championship, an accomplishment that had eluded Rubak and the Eagles for several years.

“It’s been a long time since the team as a whole has won [a league title], and it’s gained our team a lot of respect,” says Rubak. “I’m really happy about it.”

The senior captain was a strong, influential presence for his team both on and off the field, and Eagles boys lacrosse head coach, Adam Guy, says Rubak will be missed.

“Eric’s personality and attitude were contagious,” says Guy. “He’s always positive, hardworking and pushes himself and his teammates.

“I’m impressed with his passion for the game, his love for his school and teammates, and his endless energy,” says Guy. “He was a blessing to coach and will be successful in whatever he chooses to pursue because of his work ethic, attitude and dedication.”

Playing a sport on the West Coast that has its roots in the east can be challenging when it comes to getting the attention of college coaches.

“One of my biggest challenges was being recruited to play [college] lacrosse,” says Rubak. “That’s been a childhood dream of mine. When I finally got recruited, it was a big relief off my shoulders.”

Rubak will continue his lacrosse career at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY, where he will also study accounting en route to becoming a CPA. The Foothill Ranch resident worked tirelessly to achieve his long-time goal of playing NCAA Division I lacrosse by personally contacting coaches and traveling east to play in exposure tournaments. He is grateful for his parents’ support throughout the process.

“I give all my thanks to them for being able to play at the next level and have such a great high school career,” says Rubak of his mom and dad.

Away from the lacrosse field, Rubak works with Modjeska Ranch Rescue, a local pet sanctuary and adoption center. At both the high school and now the collegiate level, Rubak uses his faith as a witness through the sport.

“I feel lacrosse is just another way for me to get closer to [God],” says Rubak. “To be able to spread his grace through my sportsmanship and my attributes on and off the field, it’s just a great feeling for me personally.”