Fruita Monument senior doesn’t back down from many challenges.

Ben Fox makes a cut to avoid a defender.

Ben Fox doesn’t back down from many challenges.

The Fruita Monument senior is a midfielder for the Grand Valley lacrosse team, and as a captain, has helped the Lightning to a 7-3 record.

He’s also productive in the classroom. Fox has a 4.2 grade point average and has been accepted into the United States Military Academy at West Point as well as the Air Force Academy.

“He is a great all-around person,” Grand Valley coach Dave Zabronsky said. “He’s a great leader for us, and really is a good captain.”

Fox isn’t a starter, but is in the stream of midfielders who rotate in and out for the Lightning.

Fox provides the lightning with solid play on the field fueled by a love for lacrosse.

“When I was a freshman someone first mentioned bringing the sport into the Valley,” Fox said. “I said if it’s ever going to start, make sure you tell me, because I’d always been interested in it.”

Although Fox has been strong this season, he’s happy to just be on the field. He had to sit out all of last season with an injury to his iliotibial band (IT band). The injury kept him from doing any running, but didn’t stop him from trying to stay involved.

“He came to every practice last year injured,” Zabronsky said. “He knew he wouldn’t play until this year, but still didn’t miss one day of practice.”

That was when the Grand Valley team was still considered a club team.

“I knew I could be good at this sport,” Fox said. “I wanted to play so I came to all the practices just to throw, even though I couldn’t run.”

Fox received injury treatment at the famed Steadman-Hawkins clinic in Vail. Since getting healthy, Fox has developed as the season has progressed and given the Lightning more depth in an already talented midfielder group. Sharing time with Willie Stevens, Cody Wilson, Gabe Merluzzi and Taylor Watkins, Fox has provided the team with a smart physical presence.

“Right now he probably has the best lefty shot on the team,” Zabronsky said. “He has
developed over the past three weeks, and is turning into a great ground-ball guy, which is what we’ve been looking for out of him.”

But what sets Fox apart is a determined personality to succeed, which included choosing to pursue the high expectations of a military academy over other colleges.

“I love the structure and the discipline,” Fox said. “You really have to push yourself to succeed. I thought about your typical college life of just hanging out and having a lot of free time. I decided in the long run, I wanted to be one of a few people who have gone through a rigid system, and say I have come out of that institution.”

Fox said he doesn’t see himself continuing to play lacrosse in college because of other options.

“There are so many opportunities, and I’m not sure I want to limit to just doing lacrosse for four years,” Fox said. “Especially at the academies where they have martial arts teams, climbing and mountaineering teams and a rugby team. I want to try other sports.”

Fox and the rest of the Lightning look to avenge an early season loss at 4 p.m. today in Aspen.


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