“You’re only as good as your last play.”
This advice from a high school lacrosse coach still guides Omar Alhagiko and pushes him to keep striving for more. Now a Division I lacrosse player at Wagner College, the CityLax alum is looking forward to graduating this spring with a double major in Finance and Economics. He hopes to enter the world of finance and continue to be involved with lacrosse, a sport that has greatly impacted his life and made him who he is today.
As a goalie, Omar particularly valued the CityLax Winter Clinics, where he was able to gain extra coaching and mentorship from the volunteer coaches who were post-collegiate players. “CityLax was the first opportunity where I got to play full contact over the winter and got coaching from former college players. I know this was especially helpful to the rest of my teammates, as well, because it was a chance for us to get up and get after it during the winter when we weren’t allowed to practice as a team.”
Omar recognizes the influence he has over younger players from Staten Island and the fact that many of these students need the lessons of lacrosse. He explains, “At Curtis, there are a lot of kids who are well off, and then there are a lot of kids whose parents have gone through a lot and this is their way of getting away from it all.” Omar regularly back to Curtis to help coach practices and inspire the younger student-athletes with his story. One of these student-athletes is Omar’s younger brother, Bader.
“It’s a bit tough having my older brother at the clinics,” Bader admits. “But it’s also nice because I know he comes from a good place and he wants to see me get better.”
Bader says that having Omar and his teammates help out at the clinics has been beneficial for the entire team, both in terms of lacrosse and academics. “Omar is a main factor of me keeping my grades up,” says Bader. “He shows me and the rest of our team that college lacrosse takes a lot of work, and that if we want to play in college, we’ve got to put in the work, both on and off the field.”
Omar also remembers his time at Curtis High School in Staten Island and the difficult transition to college lacrosse. “It’s a different ballgame when you’ve been playing the sport for only a few years and then you’re playing with kids who’ve played their whole lives. You have to work harder just to catch up, which is tough—but you remember why you started playing and why you love the sport. For me, I love the competition and being a part of a team, and the fact that as long as you put in the work, you can get better and stand out, even if you’re not the best natural athlete. It’s a unique sport because of that.”