EDMOND — Choosing to play lacrosse at Lindenwood University was an easy choice for Edmond North seniors Sam Heaton and Jake Hobbs.
They had played together since middle school, developing a bond on and off the field. When they visited Lindenwood, a Division II liberal arts school in St. Charles, Mo., they knew that was where they wanted to be.
On Wednesday, they made it official when they signed their National Letter of Intent to play for the Lions.
“We have that connection on and off the field,” Hobbs said. “We have that from playing together so long we know what each other does, we know what our favorite thing is to do so we work together with that.”
Heaton, an attacker whose role is similar to football's quarterback, started playing in the fourth grade in a recreation league, but started gaining notoriety playing for a traveling team in Dallas.
“I got exposure that way going to tournaments across the country ... (going) to a couple of showcases here and there and got connections,” he said.
Hobbs, though, didn't join Heaton on the field until the sixth grade. That was only after he was pushed into it by friends. He's since developed into a strong midfielder who specializes in his defensive ability.
Heaton and Hobbs now play for the Oklahoma City Knights, a competitive club team Heaton's father helped found after breaking away from Edmond Lacrosse.
Both organizations are part of a local lacrosse boom, with about 700 athletes competing.
“Back when I started, I was probably like the pioneer group and there was maybe 100 of us at all age levels, and now it's just exploded,” Heaton said.
It's that increase of participants that makes Wednesday's signings even more impressive.
“It's just crazy because how small it was to how much it's grown now,” Hobbs said. “Kind of the main focus of the OKC Knights is just to keep it going and make it expand as much as possible. It's been a lot of fun.”