In partnership with NCSA, the official responsible recruiting services provider of US Lacrosse, we are proud to highlight our newest Impact Athletes — boys’ and girls’ high school lacrosse players who are supporting their communities with special efforts. 

We all recognize that these are unusual and unprecedented times, but great challenges also offer great opportunities, and US Lacrosse continues to receive and share some of these stories.

US Lacrosse has created an easy-to-use online submission form so you can share your stories and photos with us. US Lacrosse reviews all submissions and selects exemplary high school athletes to recognize. These are their stories.

Cooper Lillich - Rancho Murieta, Calif. 

As a two-sport athlete at Pleasant Grove High School, Cooper Lillich credits his lacrosse participation for helping to create lifelong friendships with high school and club teammates and their families. Lillich is a close defenseman and long stick middie who plays for the Pinnacle Aces club team in addition to his high school squad. Lacrosse has provided him with the motivation to continue working hard to pursue further academic and athletic opportunities in college.

“I like to believe that what sets me apart is my good work ethic and positive attitude,” he said. “I am highly coachable and willing to hear any advice to increase my level of play.”

Off the field, Cooper participates in a charity organization that helps needy, grieving, homeless, and hospitalized children year-round. The Kylee Lillich Charitable Giving Tree, named in memory of his sister, has helped over 12,000 kids by providing them with new toys, clothing, necessities, and special wishes. Children are referred by teachers, nurses, and social workers. 

Cooper, wo also plays football, annually invites his teammates and their families to participate in this all-volunteer charity. The Giving Tree has been an exceptional way for many student-athletes to give back to children in need, and for lacrosse families to come together and make a difference in the community.

As a high school senior, Cooper hopes to continue playing lacrosse in college, and continuing his education towards an MBA or law degree.

Tyler Grace Hawthorne - Mill Valley, Calif.

Lacrosse has imparted Tyler Grace Hawthorne with many valuable life lessons, including strength, community, discipline, and a competitive spirit. As a player at St. Ignatius College Prep and with the STEPS California club team, she credits practices, games and tournaments with teaching her to persevere, to be tenacious, and to work hard for the things she wants to achieve. 

Using those lessons during the current pandemic, Hawthorne has been preparing and delivering bagged lunches, along with heartfelt notes of encouragement, to families in need. She coordinates her efforts through St. Vincent De Paul Shelter, which is dedicated to ending hunger and homelessness in Hawthorne’s local community. She estimates that she has made over 700 lunches since March. In addition, Hawthorne and her mom paint and write cards of encouragement for residents at the Cedars of Marin and the Bradley House, organizations that serve seniors and provide affordable retirement housing.

“Now more than ever, we need to make sure nobody is left unfed and uncared for,” she said. “I decided to redirect the time that I would have been spent commuting to and from school to give back to my community. Helping others has been a great way for me to feel like I can make a difference in these crazy times and to remember to feel grateful.”

Hawthorne hopes to continue her lacrosse career in college while also remaining involved in coaching younger players. 

“Without lacrosse, I would not be half the person I am today so it’s difficult for me to imagine my life without it,” Hawthorne said. “I am so appreciative of my lacrosse experience thus far and look forward to what lies ahead.”