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West Orange HS’ Skylar Lassiter inspired by late All-American grandfather – Essex News Daily

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George Lassiter during his playing days at Hobart College in the 1950s. (Photo courtesy of Nayan Lassiter)

WEST ORANGE, NJ — When Skylar Lassiter steps onto the lacrosse field, she is undoubtedly inspired by her late grandfather, George Lassiter, who was an All-American lacrosse player at Hobart College (Geneva, New York) in the 1990s. 1950.

In fact, Skylar wears the number 15 on her jersey, the same number her grandfather wore.

The senior co-captain has helped lead the West Orange High School girls lacrosse team to a great season thus far. Under head coach Dave Perez, the Mountaineers had a 9-4 overall record through Saturday, May 4th. The Mountaineers have already won the North Jersey Interscholastic Girls Lacrosse League – Colonial White Division championship, capturing a division title for the second year in a row. Skylar has scored 22 goals, along with five assists, 20 ground balls and 11 draws this season.

Skylar Lassiter is on the move in this season’s 18-8 win over Union Catholic. (Photo courtesy of Kevoie Bailey/www.just1play.com)

George Lassiter, class of 1956, is in the Hobart College Sports Hall of Fame for lacrosse and basketball. A senior captain of the lacrosse team, he was a two-time first-team All-American and played in the North-South All-Star Game. George Lassiter also faced the late, legendary Jim Brown of Syracuse University. Brown was considered one of the greatest lacrosse players of all time. Of course, Brown was also considered one of the greatest players in NFL history as a running back for the Cleveland Browns.

Although he was an excellent lacrosse player, George Lassiter, who was African American, faced segregation when Hobart traveled the road.

Hobart College has a rich tradition in men’s lacrosse, winning 16 national championships (13 in Division 3, two in Division 2 and one in Division 1 in 1995).

George Lassiter later became a physician at Morristown Memorial Hospital. An avid skier, he tragically lost his left eye in a skiing accident and wore an eyepatch until his death in 2011 at the age of 76. Skylar Lassiter, coincidentally, had a medical issue that caused her to wear an eye patch when she was very young.

Skylar Lassiter has fond memories of her grandfather.

“I remember my grandfather, Pop Pop, as I called him, as being a very kind and funny man,” she said. “His smile and jokes always lit up a room and he loved being a grandfather. I remember when I was diagnosed with migraines and had to wear an eye patch, he had one too and it made me feel better to wear mine. I would have liked to spend more time with him, but hearing about his lacrosse journey always inspired me and encouraged me to start playing and eventually wear his number (#15) to represent him.

Skylar said she became interested in playing lacrosse in fourth grade because her father, Nayan Lassiter, played, as did her grandfather and cousins. “I immediately fell in love with the sport and practiced every day until I joined the West Orange recreational lacrosse team,” she said. “My grandfather passed down some old sticks to me and apparently, as my father told me, he encouraged me and my brother to play with them, but I was too little. Even though he is no longer with me, his lacrosse legacy inspires me every time I step on the field.

A young Skylar Lassiter and her grandfather, George Lassiter, wear their badges. (Photo courtesy of Nayan Lassiter)

Lassiter is enjoying his time with the WOHS team this season. WOHS had a seven-game winning streak that was snapped by consecutive losses to Governor Livingston, 5-4, on Tuesday, April 30, and to Columbia, 17-12, in the first round of the Essex County Tournament, SATURDAY. , May 4.

“Our season is going really well, considering we are currently 9-4,” Skylar said. “The team is made up of an excellent and very talented group of girls. Although we certainly could have won a few of our losses, we are trying to learn from these mistakes and excel in the future. We are led by a great coach David Perez, who constantly pushes us to play to the best of our abilities and inspires everyone to work hard, on and off the field. Regardless of our record, since it’s my senior season, I wouldn’t change anything about this year because, win or lose, our team is a family.

Sylar also enjoys his role as team captain.

“As captain, I honestly pride myself on leading by example and just trying to leave it all out on the field,” she said. “Hard work leads to success, and if I continue to work hard on the field, I hope I can inspire my teammates and create contagious energy. Sometimes being a leader means saying things people don’t want to hear, but that they need, in order to light a fire within them and motivate the team. Like I said, our team is truly like a family, so I’m grateful to be a part of it and to be able to lead my team. in good times and bad.

Skylar plans to attend Temple University, where she will study psychology and also play club lacrosse. She received offers from Division 2 and 3 colleges to play lacrosse, but chose Temple because of its psychology program, aspiring to become a therapist.

Skylar is looking forward to the rest of the lacrosse season.

“I think one of our biggest goals was to win our division again, which we did after our win against Union Catholic,” Skylar said. “For the rest of the season, our goal is to come out on top in tough or close games because in those situations we tend to lose our composure. I aspire for us to win those tougher games to the rest of the season and really come together to play more cohesively and calmly.