WESTFIELD, NJ — Despite the coronavirus pandemic, this Westfield High School lacrosse defenseman remains in touch with his teammates and hopes to get back out on the field soon.

A three-year senior varsity lacrosse player, John Eric Tilyou, referred to as “Jet” by his teammates, is this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week.

Tilyou, a defensive midfielder, trained and worked hard for his upcoming season during the winter and fall. He has been recognized for playing a major leadership role on the team. While their season was put on hold in March, varsity lacrosse coach William Wertheimer said that Tilyou “was a vocal leader on the field and in the locker room.”

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“I feel extremely proud to win this [recognition] but definitely wish I could be out there playing right now,” Tilyou said.

Tilyou and his team members are video chatting on a weekly basis to stay in touch while maintaining social distancing.

“I think our whole senior class really deserves an award,” Tilyou said. “And it sucks for us to wait three years to not even play a game in our senior years.”

Wertheimer has had a long history with Tilyou and his senior teammates.

“Our senior group is a special bunch of student athletes,” Wertheimer said. “I was their eighth-grade Westfield Lacrosse Club coach and have been able to watch them grow as young men and lacrosse players.”

Playing lacrosse since he was in second grade, Tilyou also participated in basketball his freshman and sophomore year.

Tilyou will be attending Clemson University in the fall. He said he is uncertain if he will be playing club lacrosse there.

He said he hopes “everyone is staying safe and healthy” as he and his team hope to get back out on the field once again.

While the details for this spring season's return have yet to be determined, Wertheimer is confident Tilyou will make a strong contribution.

“He is a returning letter winner who will make a big impact on the field this season,” Wertheimer said.

Annika Vesuna is a freshman at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.