Junior Galen Beers loves lacrosse.
Ok. So it’s not that unique for one of the leaders of a nationally ranked program to be enthusiastic about the sport he devotes such a large amount of his time to. What is special is the contagious nature of his passion.
Not only does Beers’ affection for the game spark his teammates on the field but it has also infected his entire family. Speaking of passion, consider this: His parents and two aunts have not missed a single game since freshman year .
Just mention the word lacrosse to him and his excitement becomes palpable.
Born in Baltimore, Md., the midfielder moved to remote Harford County, Md., as a teenager. When he was about five years old, Beers’ father, a former college basketball and baseball player, suggested he try to pick up lacrosse, which reigns supreme in the state.
“I started teaching him the basics and then got him involved in [recreation] programs, and it took off from there,” the proud parent recalled.
But it wasn’t instantly the perfect match that it eventually became.
“At first I didn’t enjoy it all that much but then I grew to love it,” Beers noted.
Men’s lacrosse head coach Jeff Tambroni can thank his stars for that fateful day. With the Red lacking offensive consistency following graduation of All-American Sean Steinwald ’00, Beers has begun to stake his claim as one the squad’s new premiere attacking threats. He has been a pillar of consistency, tallying at least one marker in each of the team’s games this season.
Being from the distant countryside of Maryland didn’t hurt Beers when recruiting time came. And when he visited East Hill he was sold immediately.
“Obviously Cornell is one of the best schools in the country academically, but its lacrosse team had something I have never seen before,” he said.
The trait which he refers to is the team’s now famous ‘blue-collar ethic.’
“This is the hardest working bunch of guys I have ever seen. We sweat, we bleed, we do everything together,” Beers said.
Beers fit right in with the culture of the squad and even in the midst of a breakout individual offensive campaign his goals are team-oriented.
“I want people throughout the entire lacrosse world to think of Cornell as the hardest working team in the nation,” Beers said.
Last semester he studied in Australia, but even the separation of an ocean couldn’t keep him from the sport.
“I played while I was there, even though it was much different,” he observed.
Although he touts the experience abroad — which included a stint as a volunteer for the Olympic Games — as one that had a dramatic impact on him, Beers says his thoughts were always in Ithaca and on Schoellkopf Field.
The trip came on the heels of his best season yet. He saw action in three games as a freshman notching three goals, before posting eight scores and adding four helpers last year. His eight goals were timely ones though, including one in the upset of defending national champion Syracuse.
It was that last one that really impressed the man who first put a lacrosse stick in Beers’ hand.
“Sitting in the stands, that goal was very special to me,” his father fondly reflects.
His mother Catherine and aunts Sue Petty and Nancy Achuff shared the sentiment.
“Watching them beat ‘Cuse was one of the highlights,” the trio said almost in unison via a speakerphone conversation.
“We also love just sitting out in the snow,” the devout fans quipped.
And after talking with them, you know they’re sincere.
The three have been dubbed the ‘pom-pom girls’ and have a reputation among the Schoellkopf regulars.
“We really do have pom-poms and we shake them and we hand them out to fans and yell a lot,” they explained.
While the wins and individual goals are what excite them, Beers prefers to be thought of as “a good person” and a “respected leader.”
His consistency in finding the back of the net this season is mirrored by his work ethic.
He likens the four quarters of a game to the four week days of practice and uses strong efforts each session to ensure he is ready once game day arrives.
Beers credits his diligence to Tambroni, who he says was a deciding factor in making the decision to come to Cornell.
“Without a doubt he has made a huge impact on me. He is one of the best offensive coaches in the country. He’s the type of person I want to be like when I’m his age,” Beers praised.
And while neither Tambroni nor Beers cite a trip to the NCAA finals as their only goal, the ‘Pom-Pom girls’ consider it well within reach.
If Beers and the Red do make it to the end of the journey, the pom-pom girls will have been with him every step of the way.
Archived article by Gary Schueller