Athlete of the Month


Photo courtesy of Rachel Thal-Larsen

Senior Rachel Thal-Larsen has played varsity lacrosse for 4 years and had 51 goals and 12 assists in the 2014 spring season. She is considering continuing her lacrosse career at Lehigh University next year.

By Julia McDermott, Senior Editor

Sprinting past player after player, a blue and green jersey sporting the number 20 dodges and weaves through a wave of the opposing team’s attempts to steal the ball. Nearing the net, she pulls her stick back and launches a shot, scoring yet another goal for CHS lacrosse.

Since her freshman year, senior Rachel Thal-Larsen has been a force to be reckoned with on varsity girls soccer and varsity girls lacrosse. However, it is in lacrosse that Thal-Larsen has excelled the most, topping the county in scoring during the 2014 season and serving as a leading attacker and captain for the lacrosse team this year.

“My Churchill lacrosse career has been great,” Thal-Larsen said. “I have the best teammates. We are all super close and we play well together.”

After being given a lacrosse stick as a gift from a relative, she began playing in sixth grade. Since then, Thal-Larsen has been a threat on the field, playing year-round club lacrosse and giving up a multitude of weekends for tournaments. She also qualified to play in the 2014 Under Armour All America Lacrosse Tournament with some of the top players in the country.

“She is unique as a player when she reads the defense and maneuvers around her opponent,” Rachel’s mother Cathy Thal-Larsen said. “Rachel is also willing to take the risk and drive to the goal when the situation warrants.  She is especially good in clutch situations and is able to maintain her composure to change the game, even when the team is losing.”

According to Thal-Larsen, one of these clutch situations was the CHS vs. Wootton game of the 2014 spring season. With 10 seconds left, she scored the game winning goal for the Bulldogs, creating what Thal-Larsen describes as one of the biggest highlights of her lacrosse career.

It is this natural attacking mentality that has helped Thal-Larsen stand out at CHS and

in the rest of the county. In the 2014 spring season alone, she tallied 51 goals, 12 assists and 21 draw possessions.

According to head coach Jamie Frank, Rachel is an “aggressive attacker” and “the most prolific scorer on the team.”

“Rachel has a great ability to maneuver inside the eight meter line to get her shots off,” Frank said. “She is very athletic and puts herself in position to score.”

Natural athleticism is what enabled Thal-Larsen to compete in both lacrosse and soccer at an elite level.

“She did not always know lacrosse would be her main sport, as soccer and lacrosse were equally important for many years,” Cathy said. “However, she stood out more in the lacrosse arena, as her stick skills and lacrosse IQ seemed to be more apparent.”

For CHS, Thal-Larsen serves as a leader both during games and in practice, constantly working her hardest for the team, whether it is practicing her trick-shots or encouraging younger CHS lacrosse prospects for the betterment of the program’s future.

“It’s nice to have a fellow captain and close friend to train with, and I always find myself working harder when she is there,” senior captain Julia Miller said. “I admire her most for her natural athletic ability, and you can most see this talent through lacrosse, from the start of the game when she takes the draw. Her drive to win helps push the team forward.”

When she does not have a lacrosse stick in her hand, Thal-Larsen can be found outdoors, kayaking, skiing, biking or working as a lifeguard and Calleva camp counselor over the summer. In addition to sports, she also has an exceptional affinity for the show Grey’s Anatomy, which is fitting, given her aspirations to be a doctor after studying at Lehigh University, where she is also considering playing lacrosse.

However, in the more immediate future, Thal-Larsen’s goals are focused on the lacrosse field.

“I want to go far in playoffs and win states,” Thal-Larsen said.