Sarah Lautman's run to Division I lacrosse wasn't always smooth. In fact, she had to give up her dream to get where she is today.
Throughout her career with the Colorado lacrosse team, the lone senior for the third-year program has proved she can do it all on the field.
But when Lautman made the decision to attend the University of Colorado five years ago out of Reading, Mass., the school had not yet begun its women's lacrosse program. Because she fell in love with the campus and the Boulder atmosphere, she chose to put her dream of playing college lacrosse on the back burner and went the club lacrosse route for 2012-13 instead.
"I think playing on the club team, we were really competitive. We went to nationals my freshman year and we were playing high-level teams," Lautman said. "They had really good experience, so I think that playing at that level that was higher than high school but not quite D-I helped me prepare for the actual Division I and still be competitive for those couple years I was playing on the club team."
As soon as the athletic department hired head coach Ann Elliott to pioneer a new program in 2014, Lautman immediately reached out and made her move up to the big leagues. And from Day One, she has been a force for the Buffaloes not only on defense, but offensively as well.
"Sarah's developed every year," Elliott said. "We've put her in a lot of roles; she's played midfield, she's played defense a lot. I think she can do a lot of things. I think mentally and physically, fitness-wise, she's grown every year to be mentally and physically tougher, which is a huge part of the grind of playing Division I from the fall all the way through the spring."
In 13 games this season, Lautman has scored 20 goals on 37 shot attempts, recovered 22 ground balls, caused 14 turnovers and won four draw controls, all while playing defense.
Because Lautman started her collegiate career at the club level, she had the freedom to play nearly every position and learned a wide range of skills.
"I think I've kind of always wanted to be that player, because it's fun. You want to be able to do everything. You want to be all over the field. You want to work hard," Lautman said.
She'll be back on the field in her do-everything role Friday when CU (9-4, 4-2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) hosts St. Mary's (0-10, 0-5) at 3 p.m. at Kittredge Field.
At the end of the season, Lautman will finish her CU career and will be the first player to ever leave the program. With her merit and abilities, the Buffs may have trouble replacing the woman who can do everything.
No matter where the road after college may take her, Lautman will always remember the three years she was able to spend with the blossoming program.
"To be a part of something new and to build a program and to help out build those little things that we're doing and what this program means, it's an amazing experience and one that I didn't even think I was going to have a chance to do," Lautman said. "It's one thing to go to college and play Division I lacrosse. It's another thing to go and start a Division I lacrosse program, and I think that's really what's been so amazing for me."
Alissa Noe: firstname.lastname@example.org