One of the major changes on the central Ohio high-school sports scene in the last decade is the growth of lacrosse programs.

One of the major changes on the central Ohio high-school sports scene in the last decade is the growth of lacrosse programs.

This fast-paced and exciting sport continues to gain girls and boys teams each year, and this year one of the best players in the area comes from one of the best teams in the area. Senior Nick Beattie of Worthington Kilbourne is considered an outstanding talent and is headed to Notre Dame next year to continue developing as a lacrosse player, but this year Beattie has led his Kilbourne team to great early season success.

"What is really fun about lacrosse in our city right now is that there are no easy games for anyone anymore," he said. "Gone are the days when the Upper Arlington, Dublin and Worthington teams dominated everyone. Now with many schools having youth programs and young talent being developed, the high school playing fields are being evened out and competition has become fierce.

"Actually, I love it that way because you can't take any games for granted, and I think we lost a few games in the past few years for just that reason. Today you have to give every team you play great respect and every game becomes your biggest game."

Talking about this fine Kilbourne team, Beattie said: "Our speed is definitely a great strength since we play a very up-tempo style and it is a very exciting style of play that shows up on the scoreboard. We have scored a lot of goals and our fast pace makes us tough to stop. We also play very much as a team. We are a tight group of individuals who just go out on the field and have fun.

"We know that other teams will rise to the occasion when they play us, and that forces us to play our best. Our team motto is '40 minutes of chaos,' and I think we are fun to watch when we play."

Beattie relishes his role as captain.

"I think the most important thing for me to do is stay positive on the field," he said. "Being negative will do absolutely no good, so I am constantly encouraging my teammates, leading by example and hoping everyone will follow what I am doing. I take my leadership role seriously."

Lacrosse is well-ingrained in Beattie's life and it has been something he has loved being part of.

"To me, lacrosse is a combination of a lot of different sports, and that makes it exciting," he said. "It has the speed of hockey, the physical nature of football and the organized plays of basketball. I tell students that if they have never seen the game, come out and watch one game and you will become a fan. But for me lacrosse is my niche and it is what I do.

"Lacrosse has taught me to never give up and to always keep fighting back. Lacrosse has taught me that if you're dedicated and work hard at being the best you can be then anything can happen, and lacrosse is giving me the chance to get a great education next year at a great university."

Moving on to Notre Dame is something that Beattie is proud of.

"I knew a while ago that I wanted to play lacrosse in college, and Notre Dame was a dream of mine," he said. "I remember putting a piece of tape on my door at home with Notre Dame written on it and touching it every time I left my room. It was a reminder of how much I wanted to go there and how hard I would have to work to get there.

"Now that it is a reality, I believe there will be no better fit for me. Notre Dame has a great academic reputation and a great lacrosse program."

Beattie and his Kilbourne teammates can be seen in their biggest game of the year so far when they take on Upper Arlington on Wednesday at the home of the Wolves.

I'll see you at a game.