BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s been an interesting road from playing on the Hamburg lacrosse team to professional lacrosse for James Wittmeyer.
After a standout career at Hamburg, James walked on to play lacrosse at Mercyhurst. Not only did he make the team, but he was named a captain his senior year, and earned his first All-American selection. After his senior season was cancelled in March, James thought his lacrosse career was over, until he got the news, via an Instagram DM, that the Philadelphia Barrage, a Major League Lacrosse team, drafted him.
“It wasn’t actually a call, it was an Instagram Direct Message from the MLL account, and it kind of came as a shock. I was just hanging out in my room and I got the Instagram notification from the MLL, them sharing their story with me of the draft card of me being selected by the Barrage, and I was just in shock,” James Wittmeyer said.
“I immediately ran downstairs and told my parents, and they were like ‘No way!’ I had no idea I was even getting drafted, I had no contact with anybody prior to the draft. So it was just a huge excitement from that point on.”
The only Division II lacrosse player drafted by the MLL this year, the Philadelphia Barrage liked James for his size, his shiftiness, and his ability to defend anybody on the field.
“We wanted to improve our back end, defensive position, including the short stick position. We wanted guys that could move well, and get it up and out of the defensive end,” Philadelphia Barrage head coach Spencer Ford said. “We felt like we could put a guy like that with that type of size, that could move, as well as the smarts, we could put him on somebody, whether it be a small quick guy or a bigger downhill dodger, and that he would hold his own and that we didn’t have to worry too much about him.”
As the league prepares to hopefully return to training camp towards the end of June, James is looking forward to putting his skills to the test and proving that his hard work has paid off.
“It’s obviously the ultimate goal for any athlete to make it to the professional league in any sport,” Wittmeyer said. “Years and years of playing summer ball then all through school and high school and finally making it to college, then here to the pros, it’s just been years and years of lacrosse, and you’re finally seeing it pay off, and it’s just amazing.”