Continuing the legacy: Anna Rubino commits to Elon lacrosse


Photo courtesy of Anna Rubino.

Junior Anna Rubino on the lacrosse field with a logo of Elon University, where she recently committed to play, in the bottom-right corner.

By Jeremy Fredricks, Editor-in-Chief

Her brother is playing at the U.S. Naval Academy. Her sister is doing the same at Butler University. And beginning next calendar year, WCHS junior Anna Rubino will join her two older siblings, in what one could call the family business: playing lacrosse in college.

Last December, Rubino committed to play lacrosse as a goalie at Elon University, the first girl from the Class of 2023 to commit to playing any sport in college. She is a member of WCHS’ girls lacrosse team and will be called upon to play a key role when the season starts in March. “The lacrosse season is my favorite time of the year,” Rubino said. “Although it can get busy, I love getting to play lacrosse and be with the team everyday.”

During the season, her schedule is full of lacrosse-related activities, including daily practices after school, team-bonding activities, like the dinners before home games, and the two to three aforementioned games every week.

“I really like playing lacrosse because it motivates me to work hard at something other than school,” Rubino said. “I am constantly working and practicing in order to become the best version of myself and I really love how lacrosse enables me to do that.”

Rubino has been playing lacrosse since she was young, first as a way to be with her siblings who played, but she later came to realize that she loved the sport, as much as she did the time spent with brother Jimmy — a WCHS class of 2018 graduate who plays lacrosse at the U.S. Naval Academy — and sister Leah — now playing at Butler University, as a 2020 graduate. Just like them, she was determined to make the WCHS team and make a big impact.

“Anna is a huge contributor to our team and a leader on the defensive end,” WCHS girls lacrosse head coach Tara O’Neill said. “Anna is extremely vocal and present on the field. She is very communicative and motivating to her teammates. Anna is always working to improve and grow as a player and encourages her teammates to do the same.”

Once she made the team, where she had a successful sophomore season, Rubino then turned her sights on playing in college. In addition to participating in prospect camps and tournaments, she began filling out college’s online recruit questionnaires and emailing coaches from places she was interested in.

“It could be disappointing at times but it was extremely exciting to get positive emails back from coaches,” Rubino said. “It wasn’t very intimidating to email coaches because I could plan out what I was going to say but calling coaches was very scary because I never knew what they would ask and I was always worried I would say the wrong thing.”

In addition to keeping in contact with colleges, athletic recruits have to be on top of their game on and off the field. Balancing academics, athletics and recruitment were “stressful,” according to Rubino, but she had a strong support network to back her up.

“I was a cheerleader for her during the process which was an easy job because she is already so positive,” teammate Hailey Yentis said. 

The process culminated when Rubino committed to play lacrosse at Elon University, a mid-sized, private university in what has been called the Piedmont Triangle of central North Carolina. Everything that Elon had to offer appealed to her.

“I loved Elon because it was the perfect size, location, and had great academic opportunities,” Rubino said. “The coaches and teammates showed me how their team was really a family. Since college sports are so competitive, teams become like your family. You live with your teammates, work out with your teammates, study with them and really do everything together. I am really looking forward to belonging to such a supportive and close-knit group of people.”

The encouraging Elon community is similar to Rubino’s current environment as a member of the lacrosse team at WCHS and she wanted to continue that feeling in college. When she told her teammates about her commitment, they were thrilled for her.

“I was so proud of her when I found out she committed to Elon,” Yentis said. “She deserves it, she is so talented and hardworking. I’m so excited to watch her play in college!”

Per NCAA regulations, coaches are not allowed to comment on unsigned prospects, like Rubino, but Elon’s Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach Amanda Mozier said she “can only legally confirm that we are recruiting her.”

Rubino is now looking forward to the upcoming season. Her teammates know that she will bring her positive attitude and never-give-up mentality to all their games and practices.

“My favorite thing about Anna is how she is positive all the time. She doesn’t let a loss get to her and makes the team feel better when we do,” Yentis said. “She is a team player and knows how to hype the team up.”

Coach O’Neill is also looking forward to the season. Last year, many players were injured and the team faced challenges, but O’Neill thinks they will overcome those obstacles this season because of their depth and talent. She is also excited to see how Rubino, one of the “hardest working” players she has ever coached, plays.

“I am excited to work with this team to be one of the most dominant in the county. I can’t wait to see how Anna leads our defense this season,” O’Neill said. “[Rubino] has grown immensely in the past two years with her skills, confidence and leadership. I know she will be a great asset to their program. I supported Anna in the process by writing recommendations; however, her skills and work ethic speak for themselves.”

Rubino has seen her dreams come to fruition, as she joins her two older siblings in playing the game they love in college. The Rubino family business continues to be in good hands with Anna. 

“Now that I am recruited, I feel both a sense of relief and pressure. I also feel a sense of pressure in that there are new expectations that I have to live up to, but these expectations are also great in that they motivate me to work harder,” Rubino said. “Although it was grueling, I was super lucky to have such a great support system. I had amazing coaches, teammates, and family who helped me along the way.”