Recent graduate Mason Balch ’18 just wrapped up a solid year on the lacrosse field in his first year of college competition.
Mason, 19, is currently playing D-1 lacrosse for the Bryant Bulldogs. Mason started this fall at Bryant University, just outside of Providence, after two years at Williston. From Westfield, Mass., Mason transferred into Williston after sophomore year at Westfield High School.
Mason’s two years at Williston made a lasting impact at school here; he excelled on the gridiron as well as the lacrosse field. Outside of sports, Mason was a great student and very nice kid.
‘’Mason was a combination of a good leader on the field and off it as well,” said varsity lacrosse co-coach Chris Dietrich. “Mason’s impact on the lacrosse field was outstanding. The way he carried himself on the field was awesome, but he was also very good at motivating guys.”
He captained both the lacrosse and football teams his senior year at Williston. He led lacrosse to one of its best seasons in program history, defeating powerhouse teams Loomis, Berkshire, and Gunnery, and ending the 2018 season 13-4.
Though it’s a team sport, Mason took home a heap of personal awards as well; he was named Offensive Most Valuable Player of the league, First Team All-Conference, and U.S. Lacrosse All-American.
Mason said he would not be thriving at Bryant the way he is without all the support he received at Williston. “I was able to mature faster than many of the other kids here,” he said. “My teachers and coaches at Williston should take credit for that.’’
Coach Blayne Lapan, Williston’s Head Strength and Conditioning coach, also played a part in Mason’s success in college. “Coach Blayne prepared me for D1 sports, “Mason said. “He showed me how important the weight room was, and he also taught me a lot about competing and being a man.”
Mason has played in 14 games for Bryant this season. He tallied 15 goals and 11 assists. The season ended in late April, with a hard loss to in-state rival Brown.
Although the Bulldogs finished 3-11, Mason said they have a bright future, with multiple freshman starting and a few key players who were injured this year set to come back next season.
Mason is honored to be playing for such a great program and coach.
Mason is coached by Mike Pressler, a big face in the lacrosse community. He has coached at Bryant for 13 seasons and prior to his head coaching job at Bryant he was at Duke University. Pressler has won five Northeast College Conference titles and made four NCAA tournament appearances in the past seven years.
“I’m blessed to be in the position I’m in,” Mason said. “Getting quality minutes as a freshman is awesome. I have worked my whole life to play college lacrosse and it [is paying] off.”
This article originally appeared in The Willistonian.