Athlete Spotlight: Wahconah's Dart Jaggi
After scoring the game-winning goal in overtime against Mount Greylock on Wednesday, Wahconah boys lacrosse attackman Dart Jaggi stopped into The Eagle offices to chat on Thursday. In a wide-ranging interview, Jaggi touched on how he got his start in lacrosse, how he became the stringer for his Warriors team, what his full name is, and plenty more.
THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE: When did you first pick up a lacrosse stick?
DART JAGGI: I think I started in late 5th grade. I know I played one year of juniors, and then two years of seniors youth lacrosse, and then I played high school.
EAGLE: What is it about lacrosse that you enjoy?
JAGGI: I love the creativity involved in the game, the flow of everything. It's the most fun sport I think I've ever played.
EAGLE: How much does lacrosse allow you to express yourself? Especially when you are in the attack and trying to score goals, you can do a lot of creative thing, is that an accurate statement?
JAGGI: Definitely. There's a lot of, it's unique for every player. How they move, or how they like to dodge, whether they like to throw in a stutter step or roll back, come over the top. I think it's definitely a big part of the game.
EAGLE: What would you say the hardest skill to learn in lacrosse?
JAGGI: Probably just throwing and catching, getting it done right and not really having to think about it when you do it, because you can't really do anything else in the game without having that down first.
EAGLE: How much does [your stick's pocket] go into your abilities, having to cradle. What do you like to have in your sticks to make that right?
JAGGI: Everybody's taught the same basic cradle. You can hold it further behind you, you can throw up and arm, but as far as pocket-wise, that's another big part of the creativity of the game. I string sticks, too, I string for our team. There's not really many limitations to it. It can't be too deep, the ball has to be able to come out of the stick when you hold it upside down. But I wouldn't say a lot of whip is necessary - it's when the ball hooks off of the strings in the mesh. I like to have not a lot of whip, so it's a smoother release of the ball when I'm passing and shooting. As far as cradling, I like to have the ball sit lower down in the stick.
EAGLE: How did you become the stringer for your team?
JAGGI: I started stringing in middle school, just for fun, then I started working at Reynolds, the athletic store. I started stringing heads for there, and I just kept doing it, and kept getting better at it. It's all about consistency and I kind of just have that consistency. When people on the team need their heads strung, they're not looking to go too far away for it. I'm right there. It's just, it's easy.
EAGLE: What's it been like being part of this team building going on at Wahconah?
JAGGI: It's been amazing over the last four years, to really be able to watch how the team grows with all the new players coming in. We have a lot of young talent on our team, but we've all been putting the work in at practices, staying focused, and really learning. I think, my freshman year, we had a lot of new players, and they are really the ones that put that time in to really home in their skills and do what they need to do for the team.
EAGLE: What's it been like with coach [Joe] O'Neill this year?
JAGGI: I think he's doing a great job. He's got a lot of lacrosse knowledge, he's been coaching on teams for years, and I've been coached by him for years. Not on Wahconah lacrosse, I play a lot of offseason lacrosse, but he knows how the game works, he knows where people need to be, when, and he's good at watching and seeing the open man and where the slides are coming from.
EAGLE: You play a lot of lacrosse outside of the high school varsity level, talk to me a little bit about what you do and some of the offseason teams you play for.
JAGGI: I've been playing summer lacrosse and fall lacrosse since my second year playing. I kind of fell in love with the sport and didn't want to stop. I ended up quitting football to play lacrosse year-round. I think that's where I kind of, my skills kind of were taken to the next level. But, I think the biggest achievement was being invited to play on the U.S. Teams. I was invited to play on the U.S. Indoor Lacrosse team, that's box lacrosse. It's kind of like hockey, but without ice and with lacrosse sticks. It's a lot more rough, it's played in a hockey rink, so you have the boards around it. The goals are smaller, so you have to be more accurate where you put it and you have to make people move. It was amazing to be able to be invited to play on a team that big, and I got invited to play on the U.S. U19 team in Germany, I think, but unfortunately I couldn't make it to the team.
EAGLE: Switching away from lacrosse, ever since I first saw your name in a box score, you have a pretty unique first name; talk to me a little bit about why you call yourself Dart, and what your full name is.
JAGGI: I love my name. My dad wanted to name me D'Artagnan from the "Three Musketeers," and my mom wanted to give me a middle name. My dad didn't want a middle name, and my mom wasn't 100 percent on D'Artagnan, but they agreed and my full name is D'Artagnan Von Jaggi. Because it's such a unique name, that's why I go by Dart, because a lot of people have trouble saying D'Artagnan. I wouldn't have it any other way.
EAGLE: Have you ever read the books?
JAGGI: I did when I was young. I haven't in a long time, but I always enjoyed reading them and seeing my name in them when I was younger.
EAGLE: What are some of your other interests and hobbies?
JAGGI: I like to stay active, but I also make music a lot. That's why I'm going for music production [in college at Full Sail University]. Right now I'm pretty much just trying to enjoy my time with my friends and my family while I"m still around here, before I move to Florida.
EAGLE: How'd you settle on Full Sail for your college choice?
JAGGI: It just seemed like the perfect fit. I don't like it to be a staple of who I am, but I have ADHD, and a lot of the classes they have are hands-on activities and a lot of hands-on learning, not a lot of just sitting in a classroom and just having someone talk to you. That's my preferred learning style. But also they have the major that I'm looking for and I"m going to end up getting my bachelor's in 21 months, just under two years. Also, the way their curriculum is set up for this major, is they try to mimic the hours you'd be working once you graduate, so I'm going to have classes all throughout the day, and that works better for me because I'm definitely more of a night owl than a day person.
EAGLE: What's your favorite instrument to play?
JAGGI: I've played the drums, the saxophone, the cello. I love playing the saxophone. I don't know, it just kind of was that one that I really enjoyed.
EAGLE: What are you listening to now?
JAGGI: There are some new songs out by this person named Iann Dior. I've been really into that. I listen to a lot of stuff. Some of the other bigger-name people like Juice Wrld, D Phoenix is one that I've been listening to a lot lately. Another newer person that's kind of still gaining attention is Tommy Ice. Just kind of whatever matches my mood.
EAGLE: The days are rapidly dwindling with your time left at Wahconah; when you look back at it, what are one or two of your favorite memories?
JAGGI: Jeez [pause]. Just being able to go there with all of these people I've gone to school with for years. Getting closer to the friends that are more in my inner circle. I can't really pick a favorite moment. Probably last night [the win over Greylock]. That's something that I've been wanting to happen, ever since youth lacrosse we've never really beat them. That's definitely fun to make history for Wahconah like that.
EAGLE: After a game, after a big win like last night, you get chosen to pick where everyone is going out to eat; where are you choosing?
JAGGI: I'm a big fan of Hot Harry's, and Domino's recently. But if I was going with a big group, I'd probably go maybe Applebee's, just because they have a more open kind of area.
EAGLE: Finally, you guys only have a couple games to go before you hit the playoffs; what are you trying to accomplish in your last couple of games as a Wahconah lacrosse player?
JAGGI: Just to play the best that I can in the last few games I have here. Enjoy my last few games playing lacrosse for a while, probably. We are hoping to take the county championship [Wahconah beat Hoosac on Saturday night to finish 7-1 in the Berkshire League]. It will be the first time, if we win, that any team other than Mount Greylock has won the county championship straight away. Last year I think it was tied between Greylock and Hoosac. I'm definitely hoping that we can make that happen.
This interview was conducted, edited and condensed by Geoff Smith.
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