Dig into the Athens Drive boys lacrosse archives and one surname continues to appear year after year: Padden.
There was Tom Padden, who graduated in 2009. Then John Padden, a 2013 grad. The Jaguars’ Padden legacy is finally coming to a close as Bobby finishes his senior year this spring.
“My oldest brother started playing lacrosse, and we followed him,” Bobby said of John and himself. “We fell in love with the game. It’s pretty cool to go back 12 years at Athens Drive and see the Padden name.”
The Padden triology might have continued at Wingate College, where Bobby is committed to play next year. Tom played at the NCAA Division II lacrosse power in Wingate N.C., but John went his own way. He’s senior this spring playing at Guilford College.
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“I always wanted to play in college,” Bobby said. “Around my freshmen year I started to think I could this. I continued to work at. Wingate’s program and coaches are a good fit for me. I visited several schools and fellow in love with Wingate’s campus and academics.”
Padden played varsity as a freshman, missed his sophomore year with an ankle injury and is now leading the Jaguars in scoring for the second straight year. He scored 81 points last year and is on pace to top that total this season.
“He’s been an incredible influence on our program since he was a freshman,” Athens Drive coach Tom Wetherby. “When he was hurt his sophomore year, that really impacted what we were able to do. But beyond scoring, his leadership on the field is incredible.”
Padden played other sports when he was younger before he realized lacrosse was his passion and future and committed to playing it year-round. He said he likes the mixture of physical play and speed.
“He works at his game,” Wetherby said. “Lacrosse is like basketball with sticks, and Bobby has that point guard mentality of knowing where everybody is supposed to be. The team really feeds off his effort. He and his family have been a great part of Athens Drive lacrosse.”