Senior English major Joshua McClendon started playing lacrosse in high school after becoming injured while wrestling and playing football. Today, he’s a starting midfielder for the men’s lacrosse team at the University of Dallas.
“[In] my sophomore year of high school at Redondo Beach, [Calif.], I got hurt wrestling,” McClendon said. “I hurt a knee and got a torn ACL. I was playing football as well. I was talking with the physical therapist, and they [said] if you got a knee injury [while] wrestling, then if you can find something else to do then you can do it. I picked up lacrosse sophomore year. Now I realize picking up any sport in high school is really, really late, but we got out of wrestling practice, and my buddy Nate and I walked by the lacrosse field and we saw a practice. It seemed like fun. Everyone was just excited to have another player because the numbers were so short. It was like a constant challenge every single practice, and I just really enjoyed that.”
McClendon graduated in 2010 from Redondo Union High School. During his time there, he participated in lacrosse, wrestling and football and was an ASB Spirit Commissioner as well. McClendon also played club lacrosse with Navy Gold Lacrosse from 2011 to 2015. He credits these several areas of experience for helping him excel on the field.
“The past four seasons, by the end of the season, we [were] down to around fifteen guys,” McClendon said. “Which, when you play ten at a time in a game, you want to have more than fifteen. Especially when you go against a team that has like thirty [people]. Every player we have is very, very valuable.”
In 2016, McClendon played in 16 games and started in one, producing three goals and two assists for a total of five points. In 2017, McClendon played in five games and was sidelined with an injury. Things looked up for McClendon in 2018, however, when he played in 13 games and started in 12 of them. He recorded eight points, with five goals and three assists, featuring a hat trick at Oglethorpe University on March 13 and a goal in a 6-5 overtime win at Becker College on March 31. He credits practicing wall ball consistently for his success as a midfielder.
“Wall ball undoubtedly [helped],” McClendon said. “Lacrosse players make a big deal out of it as if we invented it, but soccer players have kick walls, and baseball players can go to the batting cage and hit the ball off the tee. It’s one of those things that is low impact. You get the ball, you get a stick [and] grab your gloves, find a wall, and just throw for twenty minutes. Now it’s at least four times a week. I was playing against kids in high school who had been playing since they were five years old, and I just felt kind of behind the learning curve that I felt like I had to get on the wall, had to get touches and get reps. I got to catch up for all of this lost time. Even now, I’ve been playing almost eleven years, and still I feel like I have so much ground to cover. I’ve just been driven ever since I started playing.”
Finally, McClendon commented on his favorite memory with the men’s lacrosse program while at UD.
“As far as in-game memories, last season we won our first overtime game against Becker College in Boston,” McClendon said. “Which is a big thing for a number of reasons, main one being that [that] was our first overtime game. Really, I would say [that] in my four years, that was one of the few games that basically wasn’t decided at halftime. That was certainly the high point in my four years.”
With graduation coming up, McClendon is able to look back fondly on his career at Dallas and the sport he found and loves to play.