During a recent lacrosse practice behind Billerica Memorial High School, Grant Whiteway let off a shot from 15 yards out. As ball struck the iron of the goal cage, it let off a resounding “ping” that might have been heard miles away.
Typically, Whiteway’s screeching 90-plus mile per hour shot finds the back of the net. In 2010, he touched the twine more than any other player in Massachusetts history, scoring 113 goals and breaking Max Quinzani’s previous mark. Whiteway also broke the single-season scoring record with 169 points.
“Grant is the most prolific player in Billerica’s history and the team, as a whole, feeds off of Grant and he lifts them up,” Indians head coach Craig Flynn said. “He has some great kids around him that helped him set that Massachusetts scoring record last season.”
More than that, the UMass-Amherst signee is the heart and soul of the Billerica squad.
“He’s a great kid with great character,” Flynn added. “He’s always willing to help. He helps out with the youth leagues and on the field he’s the quarterback of our offense.
“He’s an explosive dodger, he sees the field extremely well. He’s a great feeder. He’s always working on the little things, too, whether it’s shooting or footwork.
We caught up with the Indians star recently to ask him about the upcoming season and his teammates’ burrito obsession.
Q: What was the key to your record-setting success last year?
A: “I played a ton in the offseason and practiced a lot. I had great kids around me, too, that helped out a lot. Cam [Slatton] and Ben [Melaugh], we clicked really well on offense and I played with them all year. Now, Nick [Morello] is back this year and I’ve been playing with him my whole life. He broke his wrist last year and his collarbone the year before that, so it will be nice to have him back.”
Q: Did you have a sense of where you were in terms of setting the record, or are you the type of player who doesn’t like to keep stats?
A: “I had an idea about it. I didn’t know exactly how close I was, but I had an idea. The single-season I record I think I set against Needham in the playoffs. Coach Flynn told me at the end of the game that I did it. It was on the last point that I scored in the game and he pulled me off because we were up by a good amount, so it was nice to enjoy that.”
Q: How do you feel last year’s performance shapes your personal expectations for this year?
A: “It might a little, but just as long as this season ends up the way we want it, that’s fine. I’m not going to be mad if I don’t get the points, just as long as we’re winning, I’ll be fine.”
Q: What kind of expectations does your team have heading into this season?
A: “We want to be right up there again this year. Hopefully, we’ll make a run toward the end of the year.”
Q: What are the areas the team needs to improve upon to make a long postseason run?
A: “I would just say finishing. We came so close last year that we just want to finish it this year.”
Q: How did you arrive at your decision to commit to UMass-Amherst?
A: “My older sister [Jamie] went there for two seasons before she broke her ankle. I was always up there and I got to catch a bunch of their games, so I knew about the program. I just kind of knew right away. They’re a run-and-gun type of team and I like that.”
Q: What has the sport of lacrosse meant to your family?
A: “I started at about [age] 3 or 4 with a lacrosse stick in my hands, as soon as I could walk. My dad played in college at UMass-Lowell, back when they had a program. He’s coached up at the high school and he helped start the youth league in town, back in the 90s, so I’ve been around it since the very beginning.”
Q: How do you get ready for a game?
A: “I need music before every game. I listen to a lot of Lupe Fiasco, some Lil Wayne, a little Immortal Technique."
Q: What do you guys do as a team to hang out outside of school and practice?
A: “Most of our team, we play together on the Raptors. We’ll play three or four tournaments around here and then we’ll take a trip down to Delaware and play the hot beds down there for the past three of four years. But we’re all real close, we hang out together a lot. We take a bunch of trips down to Somerville to Anna’s Taqueria. We’ll take team trips down there all the time, especially during the summer, we’d go there at least once a week, just to hang out and get a bite to eat.”
Q: How do you take your burrito?
A: “I go with the carnitas every time.”