After Yale's win on Friday night in the Ivy League semifinals, we caught up with Blue Star alum Chris Fake. In his freshman year, Chris was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and 1st Team All-Ivy League. Chris has matured into the top cover defensemen for Coach Shay and his teammates this year - a maturation that has been rooted in hard work and preparedness. See below for our interview with Chris who will suit up with his teammates against Cornell on Sunday at noon for the Ivy League Championship.
Chris was voted the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and 1st Team All-Ivy
Tell us about your freshman year experience at Yale, more specifically what it has been like to balance academics and athletics.
This year at Yale has been a difficult but nevertheless rewarding year, trying to juggle academics and athletics. There really is no free time, as your time is either consumed by classes, practices, lifts, or studying, but I have come to love the structure that comes along with those.
What's it like to draw the top match-up every game, going against players like Connor Fields, Jeff Teat etc?
Matching up with these attackmen was definitely a huge adjustment for me. However, I was fortunate enough to be placed on the same team as Ben Reeves. With all due respect to the other attackmen I have covered this season, no one really comes close to the skill and athleticism that Ben has and I am fortunate to see that every day in practice.
What is your mentality/mindset going into every game?
Going into every game, I just try to focus on my confidence and on the scout of my attackman. For me, it is crucial that I go into the game with confidence. And if something in the game happens where I mess up or make a mistake, I am sure to not let my confidence be affected by that play. Additionally, Yale’s defensive Coach Bax does a great job of going over film with me so I know what to expect my attackman to do in every situation. Lastly, going into every game I am just excited to play with my teammates. Coach Shay has engendered such an incredible culture at Yale where the energy is always much greater than any other programs’ and the excitement to play is second to none.
What affect did Coach Whitlow and the staff at Blue Star have in preparing you for college?
In high school, I was so fortunate to have chosen to go to the Hun School and play for Coach Whitlow, as he has had the greatest impact on my game in my development. Coach Whitlow developed not only my defensive skills and fundamentals, but even more developed my character, competitiveness, and work ethic to the best I could’ve asked. This continued into the Bluestar seasons, where the staff continued to instill these skills and characteristics through the summer. Additionally, one of my favorite parts of lacrosse was playing Bluestar box lacrosse; Coach Hopper and the other coaches enlightened me with the game, which noticeably improved my footwork and communication. However, my favorite part of box was just the opportunity to go both ways and have fun.
I can't say I'm shocked by Chris' early success, but as always him, I'm inspired. I have told Coaches Shay and Baxter when they've reached out to me about Chris, 'Never underestimate Chris, he will always rise to the challenge.'
The other things that really separate Chris are his work ethic and drive. He also had #1 matchups every game and practice at Blue Star and Hun since his sophomore year. He was pretty well trained and coachable in the finer aspects of high contact, violent goal line extended real defense. He was in those critical situations with solid advice and coaching, more than most. He had a black belt in GLE martial arts coming out of high school.
What are some things you do outside of practice that you feel have a big impact on your game?
Outside of practice, I have many great leaders here at Yale who care so much about the development of the younger players. One is Ben, of course, who I mentioned earlier, who is always willing to do one-on-ones with me. Additionally, Teddy Forst is always so selfless with working with me on things i’d like to improve or will emulate my attackman for the upcoming game so I can visualize and feel what the upcoming game will be like. Lastly, I am lucky enough to learn from the stick skills wizard himself, Chris Keating, on trying to improve my stick skills with ground balls, and specifically in ground balls a “hockey” technique, which I need to further improve upon. But working with these people I feel have made a huge difference in my game.
What are you plans for this summer?
For the first 5 weeks of this summer, I will be staying at Yale with some other rising sophomores to participate in Yale’s strength coach Newman’s lifting program. Additionally, this summer I am assisting a Yale graduate student and doing research for his start-up out of NY. I am really excited for that opportunity to have an inside look at the logistics behind a start-up and learn more in that field. When I get back from that, I am also going to try to work some Blue Star lacrosse camps!!
#1 Ranked Yale will Face Cornell in the Ivy League Final at 12pm on Sunday, May 6th. Coverage will be on Watch ESPN and the Ivy League Network!