Confidence, Tenacity Carries Revel to JMU Lacrosse
Alex Revel, co-captain of Oakton High lacrosse, calls James Madison University her 'dream school'
A lacrosse player since the sixth grade, Alex Revel has long known she wanted to pursue the sport in college.
Coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe and the James Madion University lacrosse program made her dream come true when they offered a spot on their roster after their camp last summer — a late offer in the Divison I recruiting world. Revel went public with her decision to play for the Dukes next year in a signing ceremony last fall at Oakton High.
"I think Alex had to work harder than some of the other people in the recruiting process, and it helped create a chip on her shoulder," said Klaes-Bawcombe of Revel's tenacity to join the JMU team. "I think that's something we're going to use when working with her to continue motivating her. She could have gone with another school just to be done with the process, but she hung in there and put herself in the position to really challenge herself in college. I think it says a lot about her as a person."
But don't let Revel's late signing raise doubts about her abilities, Klaes-Bawcombe said: "Her size, her physical play and her communication on the field are all signs of a strong, competitive player."
The Dukes are graduating a talented senior class, which includes Oakton High 2008 graduate Ashley Kimener, that has earned Colonial Athletic Association championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011, leaving many positions up for grabs to underclassmen — yes, even the freshmen, Klaes-Bawcombe said.
"I think because she's versatile and we don't know what position she'll play — she could play midfield, she could play defense or even at top for us — it really just depends on how willing she is to take risks, but that's where her confidence will come in, I think," Klaes-Bawcombe said. "Her versatility and her confidence were what ultimately made our decision to recruit her. She just did a great job of selling herself and self-evaluating. I think that confidence is going to be really helpful."
Revel started playing lacrosse in sixth grade, following in the footsteps of her older brother and sister who both played lacrosse in high school. Though her siblings chose a college plan without lacrosse, Revel wanted to take her talents further.
"It's kind of nice being the first person in the family to do this, but it was a different experience for my family, and my parents especially, because recruitment is crazy," Revel said.
Her determination to raise her skill level to be able to compete in college started her freshman year at Oakton High. A natural athlete who has also competed in field hockey, basketball and diving throughout her childhood, Revel made the decision to focus on lacrosse a year or two after first picking up a lacrosse stick.
"I'm a competitive person, and I love to run. I think that's why I really love lacrosse," Revel said. "And the team. I've been playing with a lot of these girls since sixth grade, and I just love it."
Her affection for her teammates shines through her willingness to take on the not-always-popular leadership role of telling it straight, said Jean Counts, head coach of the Oakton High girls lacrosse team.
"She's the one who will get in your face a little bit, which is important to have on your team," Counts said of the team's co-captain. "In our world we're taught to be polite, and that's good to a certain extent, but Alex will get straight to the point to get you on track if you need it. It's a natural role for her, and the girls do respond."
Counts said she has long foreseen a Division I career for Revel, and is happy to see everything fell into place for the four-year varsity starter: "Alex is a force. She's got good size, good speed and footwork, and good game sense. She's kind of come into her own recently. ... I think she'll do well at the college level because of her natural ability and willingness to learn."
Whatever the future holds, Revel is excited it will all unfold at JMU.
"I can't really describe it. Every day I think how lucky I am, and JMU is my dream school," Revel said. "It doesn't feel real yet because I'm still in high school. It feels great, but it's a little surreal."
Until then, Revel will join the Northern Region Champion Oakton Cougars against Loudoun County in the first round of the state tournament at 6 p.m. Saturday at Oakton High in pursuit of a AAA Virginia High School League title.
Get daily and breaking news email updates from Oakton Patch by signing up for newsletters here.