Growing up to become one of North High’s star lacrosse players, Ariella Lerner has had her fair share of less-than-ideal student athlete experiences. From traveling far and wide to cleaning up cuts and bruises, she has truly experienced it all.
Lerner is known by coaches and teammates to be a humble, dedicated lacrosse player.
“There were days on the lacrosse field when Ariella could have easily scored 10 goals a game, but she didn’t,” said Eamonn Flood, North High athletic director and physical education department chair. “She passed the ball and allowed her teammates to score as well. And for that, we became a better team and have become a much better women’s lacrosse program than when she first started as an eighth grader.”
Lerner scored 200 goals in her five-year varsity career, won the Nassau County All-Conference Award and the U.S. Lacrosse All-American Award, and represented the United States at the Maccabi Games.
Although Lerner’s impressive statistics and awards say a lot, they don’t tell her full story. Going on to play lacrosse and study psychology at Muhlenberg College, Lerner leaves behind a profound legacy in her community. Having picked up lacrosse at summer camp, she has continued to play since childhood.
Lerner moved to Great Neck where there was no lacrosse team, and having to travel out of town day after day helped form the discipline she needed to become such a great player.
Growing up, it is important that young children are exposed to a wide range of activities, not just activities traditionally expected of their genders, so that they find their interests early on and choose what suits them best.
Recognizing the profound effect playing lacrosse has had on her life, Lerner decided to organize a youth girls’ lacrosse program in Great Neck and teaches clinics whenever her busy schedule allows.
By giving young kids, specifically young girls, in Great Neck the opportunity to play lacrosse at a young age, Lerner is providing them with positive, motivating childhood experiences that will be beneficial for them as they grow. She hopes that this program will help build them up into great players from early ages.
Lerner’s coaching and mentoring endeavors do not stop here, however. In the future, she hopes to coach lacrosse at the high school or collegiate level.
Her dedication to the community has allowed her to become a leader on and off the field. By beginning her varsity career in eighth grade, Lerner was exposed to North High and the surrounding community early on, giving her a head start in being comfortable in her high school environment.
With this advantage, she was able to become more involved while juggling her busy schedule of traveling to and from tournaments, practice and visiting colleges.
“Being an athlete meant I was splitting my time between sports, school and everything else,” said Lerner. “Juggling everything was pretty difficult, but I am really appreciative of the support I got from my family to keep working as hard as I could—and I wouldn’t change my experience for anything.”
Student athletes often struggle to find the perfect balance between their sport and their other responsibilities. Lerner exemplifies that with a strong, supportive base, things that seem impossible are actually quite doable.
A hardworking, determined young leader, Lerner has had a successful high school career and is working toward an even brighter future.