07/03/2019 9:30 AM
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It's completely normal to be in high school and not know what you want to major in in college.
Kris Fails, on the other hand, has been laser-focused on his major, and him being so dialed in to that made his college recruitment a little easier and a little tougher at the same time.
"I went to a nursing camp when I was starting high school, and that was when I basically fell in love with nursing," Fails said. "I've done a lot of research on different areas, and I think it would be great to help people, plus the job demand is high for male nurses."
His insistence on majoring in nursing cut out some schools that don't offer it as a major, but it also opened his eyes to others that do, including one close to home. Barton is roughly an hour away from home for the Team 91 Carolina 2020 and Cary LSM, something that fit right in with how he didn't want to go to school far from home. One thing, though, was that he didn't know what Barton was for a while.
"When I first met (91 coach and Barton assistant coach) Jeff Handman, he was always enthusiastic and motivating and talking about Barton, and at first, I was, like, 'what's Barton,'" Fails said. "I'd never heard of it, but once I looked into it, I saw that it had nursing and a new lacrosse program. Then I met (Barton head coach) Coach (Warren) Shumate at a pickup tournament, went to their recruiting camp and met most of the team."
Barton posted five wins in its inaugural season, an impressive total for a rookie program, and there's plenty of upside for the Division II program. The combination of location, nursing and the opportunity to leave an impact at a new school was too much for Fails to pass up, and he recently committed to the Bulldogs. He's the fourth Team 91 Carolina '20 to commit to the Bulldogs after Sam Salisbury, Nathan Metcalf and Logan Kennedy.
"I looked at other schools, but Barton drew me in because it's close to home and I really didn't want to go away, and it does have nursing, which other programs don't have," Fails said. "I feel like I can make an impact on the team my freshman year, too. I kind of play everywhere for my high school team because I do whatever the team needs, not what I need. It's kind of fun playing all of the positions. Now, I have to make the most of the opportunity that I have."
"All of the positions" really isn't hyperbole, either. This spring, he played LSM and midfield, and even faced off for Cary. He popped 29 goals and handed out a bunch of assists, which helped him get acclimated to his first summer with 91. Since joining the team, he's been a consistently disruptive force at LSM and has fit in seamlessly into the defense.
"I'd always heard of the (91) Cannons and it was always the best team in the area, and I've known Coach (Brad) Wheeler forever. He's been coaching me since my early days, and I love him as a coach. He's helped me a lot. The great thing about this team is that everyone on this team is good and you have to play together. I've worked hard at improving off ball, and I've learned that it's more important than on ball, because for most of the game, you're off-ball."
Watching Fails' development over the course of the summer has been a joy for the team, and Team 91 Carolina director Nick Holota sees a bright future ahead for Fails at Barton.
"We're excited that Kris has found himself a great fit both academically and on the field," Holota said. "He's a tremendously versatile player, an excellent athlete and a great teammate. He's not only a capable on-ball defender, but he does a great job in transition as well. He'll do anything you ask of him on the field to help the team compete."
The type of player every team needs.