The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

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The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

Spyglass

The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

Spyglass

Humans of Westridge: Nati L. ’25 Found Love for Lacrosse at Westridge

Nati+L.+25+and+her+Mad+Dog+teammates+posing+for+a+photo+at+their+lacrosse+tournament.
Ariana E. ’25
Nati L. ’25 and her Mad Dog teammates posing for a photo at their lacrosse tournament.

For junior Nati L, lacrosse has been an opportunity to make friends and challenge herself on a daily basis. “It’s crazy to think I play lacrosse now. [Lacrosse] has given me so many opportunities, and without them my life would look a lot different,” she said. 

Nati joined the lacrosse team as a freshman, and rather than dwelling on her lack of knowledge about the sport, she embraced it and pushed herself to improve. She learned to love and appreciate lacrosse despite having a losing record for both her freshman and sophomore seasons. Winning was not what drove Nati to play but her enjoyment of the sport itself. Lacrosse’s uniqueness and creative nature inspired Nati, which allowed her to develop her lacrosse talents as she learned how to become a skilled defender. In the 202223 season, lacrosse ended the year with a record of 511. Nati, however, is confident that this year will be different than the last. 

Lacrosse is unknown to many native Californians like Nati. Although gaining in West Coast popularity, it’s much more common to see high school teams on the East Coast. “I knew [lacrosse] existed, but I didn’t know much about it,” Nati said. Playing the sport never even crossed Nati’s mind as an option until her 9th grade history teacher, Ms. Jennifer Cutler, convinced her to try it out in early February. Two years later, Nati is a junior starting her third year on the team, loving the sport even more every day.

“Lacrosse is my favorite sport because I get to be with my friends and I think it’s unique and not like any other sport which makes it fun.” – Nati L. 

Head Coach and Human Development Coordinator Ms. Emily Mukai and Assistant Coach and Upper School History Teacher Ms. Cutler have been steadily growing the program since 2020. Coach Mukai took advantage of the pandemic break in 2020 to reteach the fundamental skills of lacrosse and continue the development of those skills overtime, with Nati as one of her star defenders.

Playing defense felt like the most natural position for Nati from the beginning. “Being a defender is awesome. I think defending is hard because sometimes the pressure is on you in tough moments, so it’s difficult to stay composed. Defense in lacrosse is really subjective and specific to the game and the refs. It’s hard but I like it,” Nati said. 

As Westridge’s team is still growing, there have been some difficult losses. In Nati’s first ever game, Westridge lost 018 to Crescenta Valley High School, a less-than-ideal start to the season. But the loss pushed Nati to work harder to prevent the Tigers from losing by that large a margin again.

Being a new freshman, she was thrown into the game as a starter with little practice or skills except for the knowledge of how to hold the stick. While the experience overwhelmed her at first, ever since that game, she has worked to get better so that the fear she felt during her first game would transform into confidence. 

Nati posing with her smoothie she purchased at her Mad Dog tournament. (Sarah L. ’25)

PC: Sarah L. ’25 Nati posing with her smoothie she purchased at her Mad Dog tournament. 

While many athletes at Westridge only play sports at school, Nati joined a highly competitive club team named Mad Dog, a lacrosse program in the Greater Los Angeles Area, after her freshman season. She described her experience as both rewarding and terrifying, since she was relatively new to the sport when she first joined the club. “To be honest, I joined club because Emily asked me to and that made me feel really special, so I was like, ‘I might as well,’” Nati said. 

As a relative newbie, Nati joined a team at Mad Dog with girls who had been playing much longer than she had. The experience was challenging. Undaunted, she worked her way up to become the starting defender during tournaments. Being willing to make mistakes and overcome her fears at Mad Dog during the off season proved invaluable to her performance on Westridge’s team.

Lacrosse has also given Nati other opportunities to grow. Currently, she teaches lacrosse to young players just starting out. “I got really close to Emily over the past three years and she’s helped me discover a lot about who I am and she’s also given me lots of opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had.” 

During the summer, Nati along with some of her fellow lacrosse teammates work for Spark Lacrosse, an organization created by Coach Mukai. The day camp allows Nati to not only practice her own skills during the off season but also teach lacrosse to younger players.

Nati’s lacrosse journey has taught important lessons about life on and off the field. “Don’t be afraid to mess up, and if you like [your sport] even a little bit, try really hard because it will pay off in the end.”

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About the Contributor
Ariana E., Staff Writer
Ari is a junior in her third year as a Spyglass staff writer. When not playing a sport or spending time with friends, she can be found baking and listening to Taylor Swift.
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