When he was younger, Jason Hollister’s parents drove by the park and saw kids with lacrosse sticks and helmets.
They stopped and inquired about what they saw as an unfamiliar sport.
After watching his two brothers play lacrosse, it was Hollister’s turn to pick it up.
Hollister, now a senior at Havelock, has played 10 years between the recreation league and this first season at Havelock High School.
On Thursday, in front of friends, family, coaches and administrators, the lacrosse captain signed his National Letter of Intent to play in college at Belmont Abbey, a Division II school in Belmont.
“As soon as I could, I got a stick in my hand,” Hollister said. “It’s a combination of every sport. It’s a contact sport.”
Hollister has a team-high 50 goals and 38 assists in the lacrosse program’s first season at Havelock High School.
He’s the first Havelock Ram lacrosse player to sign a college scholarship.
“It feels good to be the first to make a statement for Havelock lacrosse,” Hollister said. “This being the first year at the school and having someone go off to college, it means a lot.”
Hollister selected Belmont Abbey over last season’s Division III National Champions, Stevenson University, out of Owings Mill, Md.
The Crusaders, coached by Chris Barrett, finished this season with a 6-10 record before losing in the Conference Carolinas semifinals.
“I chose Belmont Abbey because I watched a few games and its style of play seemed like it fits me,” Hollister said. “I feel like I can excel with the coaching staff. I think that will be the best fit.”
Hollister will likely remain at attack or play midfield in college, he said.
“One thing I liked about it, when I get up there, they will ask what position I want to play. If he doesn’t like me there, he will put me at a different position,” Hollister said. “I am hoping to go there and improve my skills. Next thing you know, I may be on a magazine somewhere.”
Hollister is looking forward to bringing his explosive scoring ability and leadership traits to Belmont Abbey.
“The coach is looking forward to me being another threat (to score),” Hollister said. “(Belmont Abbey) is a Christian school so I have to be an example. I hope I was an example here (at Havelock) and I hope to use that at the next level.”
Hollister’s helped lead Havelock to the third round of the playoffs. The Rams host Jacksonville at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Hollister scored two goals in Havelock’s 12-7 victory over Northside in the second round. He’s netted 13 goals in two regular-season games against New Bern.
“From the beginning, it was kind of hard to pick up, passing and catching were a little difficult,” Hollister said. “I put a lot of time into it and eventually I was able to do anything I wanted to with a lacrosse stick. It was like a third arm.”
Adam Thompson is a sports reporter for the Sun Journal.