Most people have heard the phrase, “Well, it’s not rocket science.”
For Lassiter lacrosse player Tori Ryan, it is.
“I want to study aerospace engineering,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in the space program. I went to Space Camp three times when I was younger.”
While Ryan would like to be an astronaut if the opportunity presented itself, she has the ultimate goal of designing rockets or, maybe better, designing rovers, like the Mars Rover.
“I love seeing all the work that goes on behind the scenes,” Ryan said. “It’s amazing that they can control the Rover from millions of miles away.”
To get a jump-start on her goals, Ryan will be taking her 4.5 grade-point average to the University of Alabama-Huntsville — in the shadow of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center — where she will also play Division II lacrosse.
The sport is Ryan’s other passion. She has played on the varsity squad at Lassiter for the last three years, and she is anxious to continue her career as a goalie on the college level.
“I first started playing goalie when I was playing in the under-11 league,” Ryan said. “I like it because you can see what’s happening on the whole field, and you get to direct the defense.”
During Ryan’s sophomore year, Lassiter advanced to the state championship game, where the Lady Trojans lost to perennial champion Milton. Despite the loss, Ryan said it was one of her fondest memories.
Ryan and her teammates were hoping to make more memories this season, but the coronavirus pandemic cut the season short. At the time, Lassiter was 7-3 overall and 3-0 in area play, poised to make another deep playoff run.
“We were heartbroken,” Ryan said. “We had a great team this year. We were looking forward to proving ourselves.”
Because of the pandemic, Ryan said her love of lacrosse has hit new levels.
“I will appreciate the game so much more,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to step on a field again and not think about how much I love it.”
While it has been painful not to play and be with her teammates, Ryan believes the adversity of this spring will eventually pay dividends for her and her classmates down the road.
“Speaking for the class of 2020, everyone is doing their best to find a silver lining,” Ryan said. “What we are finding is perseverance.”