CARON: Making her own mark

Freshman Lauren Martin adds new twist to family tradition

splaurenmartincourtesyvasports

Lauren Martin has been thriving early in her lacrosse career with the support of a family full of Virginia alums.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

A blur of orange, navy and white marked the middle of the Virginia lacrosse practice field. Somewhere amid the mess of pennies and sweatpants was freshman defender Lauren Martin. Her long, dirty blonde braid and stunning smile gave her away.

One of the few freshmen in Virginia’s starting lineup, Martin has already begun making a name for herself on the team by working hard and playing well. And although she may blend in on the field, the minute Martin starts playing, she stands out.

“Lauren Martin ... Has really come in and hit the ground running,” head coach Julie Myers said. “I think she’s solidly a starter for us right now and not just a starter filling a spot but really truly helping to anchor this defense and helping everyone play at a higher level. She’s been really fun to have.”

Her stellar start isn’t the only place where Martin’s mark is being made. While she may be new to Charlottesville, the Martin name is not. The youngest of four, the northern Virginia native followed in her siblings’ footsteps in attending Virginia. Although she is not the first Martin to call Charlottesville home, she added a new twist to the family tradition — she became their first student athlete.

With orange and blue running through the family veins, playing for Virginia was always an aspiration for Martin. Her hard work, humility, and talent turned that dream into a reality.

“[Virginia was] definitely on my radar early on — I saw all my siblings go here and they all loved it,” Martin said. “They always wanted to be in Charlottesville, so seeing them be so happy about being here was a big part of why I wanted to go here.”

When the Cavalier coaching staff started recruiting Martin in the ninth grade, her siblings couldn’t help but get their hopes up.

“Obviously there was bias from us, wanting her to go to U.Va.,” Lauren’s brother James, a member of the class of 2016, said. “I know it sounds cliché, but in the end we really just wanted her to pick the right place for her. We told her how much we all loved U.Va., but we knew none of us were athletes so the decision had to be her own. Not going to lie though, we were rooting for Virginia.”

Lauren’s family has been a crucial component of her lacrosse career from the moment she first stepped on the field in second grade. Her oldest sister — a high school student at the time — coached her team. Following in her sister’s footsteps, Lauren continued with lacrosse. At only eight years old, she fell in love with the sport.

When her sister left for Virginia, she started a legacy that would eventually lead Lauren herself to Charlottesville. When Lauren’s turn came to commit to college, the tradition her siblings began — coupled with tremendous talent — landed Lauren a spot on the Cavalier roster.

Now at 19, Lauren’s family remains by her side — this time sitting in the stands at Klöckner Stadium. Her brother James made sure to make it back to see his sister’s first start as a Cavalier.

The start was special for Lauren too, who entered the program with a marked modesty and extraordinary work ethic. While her family and teammates may not have been surprised when she earned a starting spot, the two-time D.C. Under Armour Underclassmen All-American was nervous nonetheless. But with her brother in the stands and her teammates on the turf, Martin made the most of her very first Virginia game.

“Seeing her with the U.Va. jersey on — I’m not going to lie, it was so cool,” James said. “Getting to see her run across Klöckner and getting her name called for starting as a freshman — I’d never tell her to her face, but to see that was one of the proudest moments for our family. It’s something special.”

Although she may be the last Martin to grace Grounds, she won’t be leaving without adding to the family legacy. As an anchor for the Cavalier defense, you will be seeing much more of Lauren Martin as she makes her own mark on Charlottesville over the next three and a half years.

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