In the fall, Ben Rosen runs with a football. In the spring, he runs with a crosse.
Rosen, who plays both football and lacrosse for Hart, has seen the two sports in which he excels converge in a very beneficial way.
Last year, the only playing time he saw at running back came when then-starter Chase Garcia was taking a break. Aside from that, it was mostly scout team duties.
This year, he’s the starting running back and has tallied 182 yards and four touchdowns on 52 carries.
“He worked really hard in the offseason,” said Indians football coach Mike Herrington. “He worked on his footwork, agility, his speed, worked hard in the weight room and things have paid off for him.”
Rosen credited his improved abilities to lacrosse, too, saying the constant movement and speed of the game helped him become better conditioned.
“The biggest similarity (between football and lacrosse) is probably the contact and just the movement of the feet, constantly moving your feet,” said the senior. “That’s what helped the most, just keeping going.”
Rosen picked up lacrosse his sophomore year. Hart lacrosse coach Tony Uebelhardt, who is also an assistant coach for the football team, was seeking players for the young program and had already nabbed a few of Rosen’s friends to fill the roster.
Asking Rosen, who is a natural athlete, to join the team seemed automatic to him.
Although the fledgling Indians went 3-13 overall last year and 4-11 the year before, Uebelhardt has seen Rosen reap the benefits of being a dual-sport athlete as he became a key defender on team.
“When he goes out to play lacrosse, he uses the skills that he’s already learned from football and he translates it onto the lacrosse field,” said the coach.
“He’s an exceptional athlete and just trying to show him how we want him to do things on the defensive side of the ball in lacrosse, it almost translates to the offensive side of the ball when he’s running back to read things and better understand things.”
The physicality of lacrosse is also reflected in football. Lacrosse athletes constantly take hits from opponents grasping a metal stick or are body-checked by the players themselves.
It’s a good thing to get used to, especially when it comes to the pass blocking required of Hart running backs.
“If our running back can’t pass block, then he’s not going to be a Hart running back,” Herrington said. “He’s going to, and has done, a good job pass blocking, picking up blitzes and things like that.”
Rosen plans on playing lacrosse in the upcoming season, but for now, the focus is on football.
“I just really want to keep getting better every week,” he said. “Breaking a couple records would be nice, but an overall well season with a good record and getting the job done will be good for me.”