By John Philip Wyllie
If the Eastlake Titans are going to repeat this season as Metro League lacrosse champions, senior midfielder Jose Urrutia will no doubt be one of the major reasons. Urrutia has shown steady progress over the last three seasons, but 2006 could be his break-out year.
“Lacrosse is a hard sport to learn and he learned it pretty quickly when he first tried with us out three years ago,” said Titan coach, Doug Murphy. “Last year he ran on our first midfield line and that was a big step. But during the off-season he improved his skills three-fold. He has become a captain and a leader. Players look to him for leadership out on the field. His shot, which is important in lacrosse, has increased speed-wise. He is very tenacious and willing to do anything to help us win.”
The key to Urrutia’s success has been what he has done on his own in addition to the team’s practices.
“Most of the stuff you do on the field comes from the time you put in outside of practice,” Urrutia said. “I run hills and stairs, jump rope and play wall ball by myself.” Murphy believes that Urrutia’s improved velocity and accuracy with is shot this season stems from his hours of shooting the ball against a wall long after practice has ended. His hard work has paid off. Urrutia has been averaging a goal per game and has played solidly on defense as well.
“Lacrosse requires a lot of running and stick skills and it is pretty rough. You can definitely get banged up out there. It also requires a lot more multi-tasking than say football,” Urrutia said. “You have to be thinking about your running, your stick and juking your opponent.”
Lacrosse isn’t the only challenge Urrutia has faced. He was born in Chula Vista, but spent most of his first 10 years living in Tijuana. He has been forced to survive in two different cultures.”
“We returned here when I was in fifth grade and I had to adapt. I grew up in T.J., but the transition wasn’t too hard. I’ve always had cousins that have lived here and they taught me English and helped me cope. I worked hard on improving my English because I didn’t want people to judge me.”
At this point in time, Urrutia speaks fluent English without any trace of an accent. He considers it one of his keys to success. Similarly, his success on the field stems from an equal amount of hard work and dedication.