Ben Mazure is living out his dream that he has achieved through hard work, persistence, and dedication.
Discovering lacrosse when he was 9 years old, Ben fell in love with the sport right away. “I said to myself, ‘OK, I can see myself playing this for a while.’ I loved the sport. I liked the aggressiveness. It was a sport where you hit people with metal sticks. It was way better than baseball!”
It was love at first sight, and that love blossomed into a full-on obsession for Ben. A defenseman since he first started playing lacrosse, Ben began playing for ADVNC Sacramento when he entered middle school and soon he realized “this was something I could play at an even higher level. I knew I wanted to play this sport as long as I could.”
While Ben’s dream of playing in college progressed, he leaned on ADVNC for guidance.
Both Ben and his father, Fred Mazure credit longtime ADVNC Sacramento coach Dave Gravlin with helping Ben achieve his dream of playing college lacrosse.
“Dave Gravlin is the backbone of everything Ben and his teammates have done”, recalled Fred. “He is a huge, huge part of what Ben has done and accomplished.”
Coach Gravlin is equally complimentary of Ben. “More than any other player I've coached, Ben achieved his goal of playing college lacrosse purely by hard work and a relentless commitment. Some players are born with amazing athletic skills that allow them to excel at any sport, giving them a head start on others. While he certainly has athletic gifts, Ben made himself into a college level athlete with a work ethic that is all-too-rare these days.”
Hard work is an ingredient that is crucial to the success of any player who dreams of playing lacrosse at the college level. Ben realized early on what was required of him. “It takes a lot of work. You need to do a lot more than just go to practice. You need to do a lot of work on your own. You and your parents are always working hard towards your goal. Both academically and athletically. If you want it to happen, you have to really, really want it. And you have to love the sport. It requires passion.”
Coach Gravlin saw that passion in Ben almost immediately and it made quite an impression. “Ben is a testament to the truth of the statement that ‘if you want something bad enough, you can achieve it simply by refusing to accept failure.’”
When Ben’s college recruitment kicked into full gear, he leaned on ADVNC Director of Training Greg Weigel to help guide him through the process. Ben recalls this period fondly, “ADVNC did a lot to help me with recruiting, especially Greg. He helped a lot. He taught me how I should talk to coaches. I would get very nervous when I would email coaches or talk to them on the phone. Greg helped a lot. He contacted a lot of coaches for me too.”
For Coach Weigel, it was easy to work with Ben as his attitude and grit kept Ben going, even when the times were tough. “The thing that sticks out to me about Ben’s recruitment is, his perseverance,” said Weigel. “Ben was active in the recruiting process for over 2 years. He and his dad attended countless recruiting events. He had a vision of what he wanted and stuck to it and overcame a lot of obstacles.”
It wasn’t just Ben and his dad going through this. Ben’s mother, Jodi Mazure spent a lot of time helping Ben through the recruiting process as well. “It was very stressful”, recalled Jodi. “I put a binder together for Ben with all the different colleges he had been contacted by, along with a list of questions they had asked him. That helped him learn and helped him get better to talk to the next coach.”
Eventually, Ben set his sights on Baldwin Wallace University, a small Division III program outside Cleveland, OH. “Ben was iffy on going all the way to the East Coast”, Fred Mazure remembers, “Baldwin Wallace wasn’t SO East Coast, it was in Ohio. When we visited, we didn’t know what to expect. But we saw it was a great college. And we really liked Trey Keeley, their new and young Head Coach.”
Once Coach Keeley offered Ben a spot on the Yellow Jackets’ squad, Ben committed to Baldwin Wallace. That was over a year ago when Ben was a junior at Granite Bay High School.
Now that both Ben’s recruitment and his ADVNC career has ended, both he and his dad look back on the experience fondly. “I’m a little sad we don’t have more ADVNC tournaments to attend this summer,” said Fred. “ADVNC was a great experience. I liked how well it was organized. I felt like ADVNC really cared about the boys and looked out for their best interest. As a parent, when you’re spending money on something like this, it makes you feel good that the club has the kids’ best interest in mind. You don’t mind paying for it when the club has your back.”
“It will be weird not doing my ADVNC summer tournaments”, said Ben. “ADVNC has been a huge part of my life, and I’m really grateful I had it in my life.”