By Christian Clemente
When Finn Vaughnkraska first moved down to Colorado it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
“Everyone thought I was a foreign exchange student from Northern Europe. Because I didn’t talk very much the first week they assumed I didn’t know much English. It didn’t help much that my cousin put a picture of me on his Snapchat story saying ‘welcome to America.’ Even after a month of school I still had people asking me about Scandinavia, Germany, or whatever country they heard I was from.”
Vaughnkraska is a former BHS student who decided he wanted to take his lacrosse career to the next level. He says he decided as this was pretty much his last year to be recruited, he should go to Colorado because of the amount of club opportunities they offer year round. Vaughnkraska moved to Evergreen Colorado (which is about half an hour west of Denver), where he is currently a junior at Conifer High School.
“I am living with my aunt, uncle, and cousins so I can play a higher level of lacrosse year round and get better with the hopes of playing college lacrosse,” he said.
“Conifer High School does not have stellar athletics to to say the least…but their lacrosse team happens to be ranked eighth in their division,” he added.
Vaughnkraska participates in a Denver club called 3D. 3D is a lacrosse club located in Denver and the club has players on the team from California to Ohio and even all the way from Mass.
Vaughnkraska plays midfield and attack.
“That’s what I’m best at and enjoy the most but I was also the backup goalie for Bozeman’s varsity team so I’ll play pretty much anywhere,” he says.
Vaughnkraska says he loves lacrosse because it’s a combination of several sports “you have the running from soccer, the stick skills like hockey, the offensive strategy of basketball, and you have the contact and agility of football.”
But it’s not all about the sport for Vaughnkraska.
“Other than that I love being on a team. There’s nothing like being part of a closely knit team. It’s like a family,” he adds.
Vaughnkraska says he misses Bozeman but he also says leaving Bozeman for a year is worth it if he can play four more years of lacrosse. He finds this not as something bad or to be sad about but rather an opportunity to improve his lacrosse skills so he can keep playing.
“I guess what people really have to know is that I don’t want the end of my lacrosse career to be when I graduate high school.”
Vaughnkraska says he likes Colorado because of it’s culture and scenery, which he says are very similar to Bozeman’s.
“One of the other great things about being so close to a big city is the tons of chain restaurants that are delicious and cheap. It’s a high schooler’s food heaven,” Vaughnkraska says.
Vaughnkraska says he misses all of his friends and teammates and even some of the teachers here.
“I miss all of my old football and wrestling coaches at the high school, especially coach [Nate] Laslovich, that guy is one of the most convincing and genuine people you will ever meet, he’s a great coach and a great person.”
Even though Vaughnkraska had a bit of a rough start in Colorado, after a little while people finally started to put the rumors to rest.
“It’s all good now, everyone knows I’m American now,” he said.