Athlete of the Week: Jackson Kleintz
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Jackson, a freshman attackman for the Mercer Men’s Lacrosse team, has had a phenomenal breakout season for the Bears. Hailing from Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia, Penn., Kleintz has made major contributions to the team’s winning record in SoCon play.
The Bears suffered a number of tough losses at the outset of the spring season, losing to Boston University, Duke, Siena, Detroit Mercy and Marquette. Despite these five losses to begin the 2015 season, the Bears rallied these past couple of weeks just in time for conference play. The Bears are now 3-0 in the SoCon, having downed High Point, Furman, and Bellarmine. In the win against High Point, Kleintz registered a hat-trick with three goals to go along with three ground balls. Against Furman, Kleintz netted the game-winning goal to secure the 11-10 win.
Kleintz has truly stepped up to plate as a freshman and does not take this new position lightly. He recognizes the vast differences between high school and college lacrosse and commits himself to making a successful transition.
“The difference is definitely in the speed of the game,” explains Kleintz. “At this level, everyone can play, and it makes the ball move that much faster. Preparing for games is also a lot different [in college]. It’s a full week of preparation for each team rather than just a couple of days, [and] you really have to know your opponent.”
Knowing the opponent has clearly aided the team in its recent wins, yet early on in the season, it was not enough to clench wins. Kleintz attributes the recent success to team cohesion, mainly.
“We have the players and the system to allow us to win those [early] games, but we just didn’t play up to our potential,” said Kleintz. “As for the recent success, we’ve just been able to find ourselves. We finally know what style of play suits us, and as long as we play our game, we can win. Now that we’ve found our groove, we have a lot more energy and we definitely plan on keeping it going.”
A Philadelphia native, Kleintz has come a long way to compete for the Bears, but lacrosse was not the only factor that lead him down South.
“[Mercer] had everything I was looking for in my college experience,” recounts Kleintz. “It’s a fantastic school and a beautiful campus, and they offered me the opportunity to play high-level lacrosse. Looking back now, I couldn’t be happier with my decision.”
When asked about his transition from Pennsylvania to Georgia, Kleintz does not seem to be experiencing the typical freshman homesickness.
“I’m definitely enjoying my time in the South,” says Kleintz. “It’s really not a big adjustment, but the biggest difference is how nice everyone is. I feel like people are meaner up North, and we’re always in a rush.”
Kleintz is an Economics and International Business double major.