The ONU Men's Lacrosse Team with the American flag after finishing the team's annual 9/11 memorial run.

ONU Men’s Lacrosse team to observe 9/11 anniversary with annual stair climb
Where were you on Sept. 11, 2001? For most college students, they had yet to be born. The Ohio Northern University Men’s Lacrosse team, however, won’t be letting the 22nd anniversary pass by without notice. Starting at 6:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 11, they will memorialize victims and honor first responders with their 9/11 Stair Climb at Dial-Roberson Stadium, an annual team observance that began in 2019. Team members will climb the same number of stairs it took for first responders to reach victims trapped at the top of the Twin Towers.
“We do this in honor of all the first responders and to remember all the families impacted by the events that day,” said Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Nat St. Laurent. “We first did the run to support Lillian Hirshfeld, then Student Senate president, and Leslie Bostick, then faculty/staff representative of the ONU Veterans Organization that hosted the event that year.”
Since the event began, the team in subsequent years has added a moment of silence and discussions about Sept. 11. “We wanted to go more in depth with our team conversation regarding the events that day and how they have impacted our lives, as many of them are too young to remember or had not been born yet when it happened,” said St. Laurent.
St. Laurent also requests that the players call home to check in with their parents. “I have them ask their parents about that day. Many of the players show up in my office days following our event and share stories with me that their parents told them. I can tell those conversations impact our team,” he said.
“I think 9/11 is such an important piece of American history and it will always be important no matter how old people are,” said Ethan Hojnacki, a former team captain.
Making sure that young adults continue to connect the past with the present is essential, St. Laurent believes. “We really just want to make sure that we never forget the events of that day and how it impacted so many innocent people and our country.”
St. Laurent certainly won’t forget the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and their aftermath. A resident of Upstate New York, he grew up in a military family; his father had served and his brother was a U.S. Army officer. After the planes crashed, he enlisted in the Army.
“The events on 9/11 motivated me to serve our country, especially being in a military family already,” he explained. “There are several other connections to 9/11 for me but it had a major impact on my life.”
According to Tyler Ferguson, another team captain during the previous season, when discussing 9/11 with other players and to motivate them for the memorial run, he has referred to Welles Crowther, a former Boston College player, volunteer firefighter, and equities trader who didn’t survive the attacks. Crowther is known as the “man in the red bandana” who saved as many as 18 people who had been trapped on the World Trade Center South Tower’s 78th floor that morning. The 9/11 Memorial & Museum website states Crowther made three trips to the building’s sky lobby, appearing through the smoke and wreckage to guide people to the only save stairwell until the building collapsed.
“The past few years, many of our teammates have worn red bandanas during the climb in his (Crowther’s) memory,” said Hojnacki.