Hillgrove’s Phillip Bell will continue his lacrosse career at Emmanuel College.

Hillgrove’s Phillip Bell said he will miss lacrosse practice.

His teammates made it fun, but a coach made him want to get better.

“I’ll miss the coaching of (assistant) Tony Legge,” Bell said. “He made you want to come to practice.”

During his four seasons on varsity, Bell saw the team go from 5-13 in 2017, to a region championship and a 12-7 record in 2018 and a 12-6 mark last season. The team had gotten off to a 6-3 start this season and it was 3-0 in area play. This was the chance to make it past the second round of the playoffs, which the Hawks had advanced to the last two seasons.

Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus pandemic, this season was cut short, and it has reminded Bell of some of his favorite moments during his career.

“My freshman year I got my first start against Grayson,” he said. “We were down 11-1, but came back and sent the game to overtime.”

Bell said that’s when he knew the Hawks were going to be a good team.

“One of my favorite memories was winning our first (area) title as a sophomore,” he said.

Bell, who won the 2019 Positive Athlete Award for lacrosse, spent all four years on the varsity squad and the last two years as the starting goalie. He has been a goalie since he took up the game at the age of 8.

“My dad played goalie in soccer,” Bell said. “It got me interested in the position. Also, I’m fine with running, but if I didn’t have to run that was OK with me.”

He is looking forward to continuing his lacrosse career when he arrives at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs in the fall. While playing, he plans on studying athletic training with the hopes of being a trainer on the college or professional level. He also knows he has a new appreciation for the game, because he never envisioned his high school career being cut short.

“You really don’t know what you have until you lose it,” Bell said. “You have to play like you aren’t playing tomorrow.”

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