Lacrosse club works to improve image after team member’s death

Men’s lacrosse team captain Evan Forayter, left, dodges opponents in a game last year against University of San Diego. Photo courtesy of Evan Forayter.

The men’s lacrosse team is striving to show itself in a positive light following the death of first-year student Nicholas Castellanos, who was struck by a car and killed on Jan. 16.

Both the men’s and women’s teams were suspended in February for violating the alcohol policy in the sport club program’s code of conduct, according to a Chico State press release.

In the course of investigating the circumstances of Castellanos’ death, university officials discovered parties held by the teams on Jan. 10 and Jan. 16 where alcohol was available.

The men’s lacrosse team will get a chance to be reinstated in April and is actively working with the community to improve its image.

The club is helping to coach the Rebels, a youth lacrosse team in Chico, and is hoping to do alcohol education presentations on campus as well as community outreach events.

“We are hoping to show the school and the community that what happened was a freak accident,” said Evan Forayter, club president and senior majoring in manufacturing engineering. “And we are taking steps to make sure that it never happens again.”

In April, each sports club has to put in a request to receive funding from Chico State for the following season. This is usually routine, but the men’s lacrosse team will face more difficulty than usual.

However, sports club administrators are confident that the squad is doing all it can to get back to playing.

“They will make every effort to promote a positive image of Chico State lacrosse and take the necessary steps to educate their clubs members on the expected conduct of sport club student athletes,” said Kendall Ross, sports club program coordinator.

The men’s lacrosse club team has been active for roughly 20 years and plays about 15 games per year. The club receives about $3,000 of the schools $70,000 budget dedicated to sports.

Getting back to lacrosse is the team’s main focus right now and it is working to show that the accident that happened earlier this semester is not the norm, said John Bruni, a junior business major and member of the lacrosse team.

“Playing lacrosse is essentially my getaway from the real world,” Bruni said. “It was a chance for me to hang with all of my closest friends while playing the game I loved.”

Michael McClurg can be reached at [email protected] or @MichaelMcClurg on Twitter.