Dangling from a wall by your fingertips might not sound like a good time for most people — but that’s where things start to get fun for Ben Jasinski.
“The mental and physical challenge of climbing is unlike any sport,” Ben said. “The satisfaction you get after completing a new route is unreal.”
Climbing is about more than just physical strength. For Ben, it’s about unraveling a riddle with his mind and muscles while pushing past obstacles. That same toughness is what makes the freshman attack such a valuable player on the lacrosse field.
Humboldt Lacrosse head coach Danny Eggert said he couldn’t be happier with Ben’s attitude or skillset, and can’t wait to see what Ben has in store for the next three years. Named a team captain as a true freshman, Ben is currently the team’s leading goal scorer and the only Humboldt player to have booked a point in each game.
“Ben showed up as an all-around solid offensive player,” Eggert said. “He meshed quickly with all the boys, helped bring everyone closer together as a team, and it was obvious that his lax IQ was through the roof.”
A marine biology major from San Diego, Ben has been climbing most of his life. As a child, his parents would take the family to Joshua Tree National Park, where Ben would top rope climb and boulder. Now at Cal Poly Humboldt — when he’s not on the lacrosse field or classroom — Ben can be found hanging out at the Student Resource Center climbing wall or at climbing gyms in town.
“The quality of climbing here is amazing,” he said. “The SRC building has solid bouldering and top rope walls with a good range of difficulties. Far North in Arcata is one of the best boulder gyms I’ve been to, with a fun but challenging array of routes. You often see many other students climbing at these facilities, and it’s a cool community to be in.”
He said one of the most surprising things about coming to Humboldt was the range of outdoor sports and activities available. From hiking and biking the trails to fishing the rivers and snowboarding, there’s always something new and exciting to explore in the area.
“The surf can be very good at times, and the amount of climbing routes around the area is amazing,” he said.
These activities are a key part of why he wanted to go to Humboldt, he said, and help him stay in top physical shape for the lacrosse season.
“Ben is an exceptional player with a ton of natural ability and the work ethic to take it to the next level,” Humboldt Lacrosse assistant coach Gus Johnson said. “He’s the type of guy that’s a dream to coach, and I definitely see multiple all-conference awards in his future.”
Still rebuilding from two seasons lost to the pandemic, Ben said the Humboldt program is determined to keep pushing forward and improving. The team notched a huge victory this March by beating UC Santa Cruz, 13-12 in overtime. With the win, Humboldt broke a 10-game losing streak to the Slugs, providing a huge morale boost to the team and its fans.
“We have been facing a lot of adversity with injuries, but we have a lot to look forward to as we’ve had some players return,” he said. “I think we have some winnable games ahead of us if we can get some numbers back.”
But for Ben and the rest of the Humboldt Lacrosse team, the sport is about more than just winning games. It’s about pushing yourself, being part of a tight-knit community, and having fun along the way — both on and off the field.
“I want the people to know that Humboldt Lacrosse is here to play,” Ben said. “You’ll not only have a good time playing lacrosse here but a good time adventuring and finding all the amazing things Humboldt has to offer.”