The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Lacrosse player turns program around after one ‘lackluster’ year

Bridger Rust serves as lacrosse president and team captain
Bridger Rust, team captain, speaking to his teammates

Bridger Rust first stepped foot in Washington State the day he moved into his dorm as a freshman. Although he was two states away from home, Pullman did not have a foreign feel as he grew up in Billings, Montana and the small-town, out-in-the-country atmosphere was what he was used to.

Growing up, Rust played almost every sport in the book.

“I played football, basketball, hockey, soccer…just to name a few,” he said.

However, once he started playing lacrosse around the age of 13, he never looked back.

“From the second that I watched lacrosse, I’ve just fallen in love with it,” he said. “And kind of the way that it’s an amalgamation of all other sports kind of combined in my opinion.”

Rust joined the WSU lacrosse team freshman year. Although his love for lacrosse was strong, the word he described his first year of playing was “lackluster.”

“We didn’t have any sort of matching equipment. We played one tournament in fall,” he said. “We didn’t have uniforms…there was just no cohesion, no organization.”

The team’s uniforms did not arrive until after the season was over.  

Rust took over the team as the captain and president after his first year of playing. His first goal was to find consistent leadership, which he found in coach Shane Winkler. Some of his other responsibilities included running social media, coordinating travel logistics for tournaments, scheduling and hiring coaches.

“Bridger has been insanely proactive with the leadership, making sure they’re staying on track and that everyone understands what’s going on,” Winkler said.


The win-loss record improved and the team saw personal success on the field, Winkler said. 

Along with his responsibilities as president, Rust is proactive on and off the field, ensuring that his teammates are doing well and that the team stays cohesive.

Teammate and friend Sam Fulton noticed the change in atmosphere.

“[It’s] a very tight-knit group, I would say. We don’t talk bad about each other. We’re just a group who loves to have fun on and off the field,” Fulton said.  

After meeting over Zoom and then staying on the same dorm floor freshman year, Fulton and Rust have become best friends. Rust credits his friendship with Fulton and others as one of the reasons he plays lacrosse.

Both Fulton and Rust play midfield, and having good chemistry is a huge part in successful plays, Rust said. His goal is for the team to become so cohesive and close they will be able to know each other’s playing styles and have the same “unspoken knowledge” of each other on the field that he and Fulton share.

“He’s mostly someone who wants to see you perform and expects the best on and off the field,” Fulton said.

Although one of their peers, Rust has gained the respect of the entire team because of his character, leadership and how much he turned the program around, Fulton said.

He said he would describe Rust as “Disciplined, smart and athletic.”

As a junior double majoring in criminal justice and political science, Rust has many responsibilities and stays very busy.

“He has big goals…and I think he truly enjoys it as well,” Fulton said. “All the stress that comes with it…It’s just a lot of respect and it’s amazing that he does such a great job of keeping pace of lacrosse, school, his normal life and everything.”

The 2024 WSU Lacrosse Team

Rust hopes to continue the upward trend of cohesion, strong leadership and success on and off the field for both him and his teammates.

“If all goes well I’ll be president and hopefully captain again next year,” he said.

Even when the responsibilities get overwhelming or he puts in a 13-hour day, Rust has a positive outlook.

“I’ll just laugh. I’ll just say, you know, at least life is interesting,” he said. “It could be a lot more boring than it is.”

One way he finds the inspiration to keep going, even when it’s hard, is the fact that he is living his childhood dream.

“I’ll think back and say, ‘If my 13-year-old self could see what I’m doing now, I’d be pretty geeked out and I’d think it was pretty cool,’” he said.  

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About the Contributors
ANNA ADAMS, Managing editor
Anna Adams started at The Daily Evergreen her senior year in October 2023 as a life reporter and multimedia editor. Currently, in the spring 2024 semester, she is the managing editor. Anna is a Pullman native and is studying multimedia journalism. In her free time she enjoys reality tv, traveling and trying new coffee shops.
EMMA DECASA, Evergreen photographer
Emma Decasa is a photographer for the Daily Evergreen. Originally from Issaquah, Washington, she is a junior majoring in Advertising, with a minor in Sports Communication. Emma started working for the Daily Evergreen in the fall of 2023.

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  • CamilleApr 18, 2024 at 8:40 pm

    Congrats Bridger! You deserve it!