By Charlie Norgaard
This Saturday, the Men’s Lacrosse team will be competing in the Fritz Hayes Classic, where they will play against Jesuit High School.
The Fritz Hayes classic is an Oregon lacrosse event, which has been held every year at West Linn High School since 2013. The event showcases two games between the top four competitors in Oregon high school lacrosse. While the game may hold importance for the lacrosse team’s season, the event itself represents much more for the OES community.
The Fritz Hayes classic is far more than just a couple lacrosse games; it is an honorary event for OES parent and Oregon lacrosse icon, Fritz Hayes, who was tragically killed in 2012. His death was profoundly painful for not only his family, but also the OES community; and received enormous recognition throughout the greater Oregon lacrosse community.
Hayes was a one of a kind referee. “He was the guy always willing to find a way to help out,” says Athletic Director, Dennis Sullivan, “Every other ref always wanted to work alongside Hayes.” No matter the time, distance, or game, Hayes was always willing to ref. When other referees refused to officiate uninteresting or low paying games, Hayes was always the first to volunteer. Whether it was a playoff game or a JV match in Bend, Hayes would never shy away from an opportunity to improve the players and the sport.
Not only was Hayes a standout referee, but he also had an extremely close affiliation to OES. His son, Nathan Hayes, was a phenomenal lacrosse player, and played on the OES 2009 State Championship team, while his two daughters were ‘lifers’. Current OES lacrosse coaches Dennis Sullivan, Andrew Parker, and Chris Hochgesang were very close with both Nathan and Hayes as well. When word of Hayes’ death reached OES, it tore the community apart and left many absolutely heartbroken. Hayes’ memorial service was later held at the OES chapel, where he was recognized for his loving and unquestionably generous personality, and as one of OES’s greatest influences.
The OES Men’s Lacrosse team looks forward to competing on Saturday in remembrance of Hayes and his contributions to OES and the Oregon lacrosse community. I encourage anyone to attend the game to enjoy a competitive game in the name of Fritz Hayes.