Armed with a chip on his shoulder, Park City senior Brady Baumann is heading to college on a lacrosse scholarship
It was late in the fourth quarter of Park City’s Class 4A football state semifinal game against Pine View and the Miners were leading 48-21. With the result all but assured, coach Josh Montzingo wanted to make sure that his players got through the rest of the game healthy.
So when senior linebacker Chase Johnasen lay on the ground after being cheap-shotted by one of Pine View’s big tackles, it was Brady Baumann, the smallest player on the field for Park City, who stepped up to confront the big man after the play.
Despite being 5-foot-7, 165-pounds, Baumann made sure that the Pine View player knew what he did was wrong and that it wasn’t going to happen anymore, or at least that’s the way Baumann tells it.
“First off, nobody pushes us around, so I just went over there and gave the big guy the business. … I didn’t think about the size difference between us, but I made him step back that’s for sure,” Baumann said. “I don’t play dirty, it’s not who I am, but I’m also not going to let anybody push me or my teammates around. If that’s the game they want to play with being that physical, we can do that and I’ll still win.”
Montzingo remembers it fondly, but differently.
“That moment showed the nastiness and tenaciousness we had as a team, and it came from somebody who helped change our entire program,” Montzingo said of Baumann. “We weren’t the biggest team out there, but we were one of the most physical and Brady showed everyone how tough we were. He brings that moxie and chip on his shoulder that’s served him well in life.”
According to him, Baumann owes that proverbial “chip on his shoulder” more than anything as it helped take him from somebody with no real future in Division I college athletics growing up to somebody who was highly coveted throughout the recruiting process. Come next spring, Baumann will be suiting up for Marist College on a lacrosse scholarship in Poughkeepsie, New York.
“Marist saw me at a T99 lacrosse camp during the summer (2019), liked me a lot and invited me out for a recruiting trip,” Baumann said. “Even though I didn’t know much about them, I knew they were D-I and went to the NCAA tournament that year, which is a big deal. The campus is pretty small so you’re involved with the community once you step out of the dorm. … It’s a perfect fit and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”
But that future that brought on college athletics seemed nearly impossible when he was growing up. Baumann grew up being accustomed to three things: Always being the smallest person on the field, facing doubts about his ability and proving people wrong about them.
“For years, people have been underestimating him for his size, which I think is part of the genesis of his chip on the shoulder,” said Michael Persky, Park City high school lacrosse coach. “When people see him enter a game, they’re not impressed. … But then when they see him participate, they’re blown away.”
That chip on his shoulder originated when he played youth football for Park City. According to him, the Miners had “the reputation of being privileged white kids who had everything handed to them and were soft.” The disrespect they encountered at a young age fueled Baumann’s desire to never back down and always play with such tenacity and ferocity that the he and his teammates would never be forgotten.
But while football was everything to him growing up, it wasn’t until his sophomore year of high school when college lacrosse coaches began to show interest him. What started out as minimal notice by Division III schools quickly translated to maximum exposure at the Division I level where prominent lacrosse colleges like Marist, Bryant, Marquette, St. John’s, Furman and Lehigh began to take notice and recruit him.
Rather than become overwhelmed with the recruiting process, Baumann relied on his mom Heide to get him through, as she’s somebody who made the process as easy as possible and helped figure out what’s best for him.
Lacrosse eventually became Baumann’s main sport and he decided to play football for fun with friends, which ironically is how he began lacrosse in the first place.
“If it wasn’t for Dylan (Bauer) and McKnight (Pederson), I might’ve never picked up a lacrosse stick and definitely wouldn’t be where I’m at right now,” Baumann said. “With Dylan and McKnight pushing me to be better every day, their families also supported me and taught me the ins and outs of the game so for that I’ll always be thankful.”
Another driving force behind his success was his former head coach Brian Bilzi, who is more of a best friend than a coach.
“He’s the closest I’ve ever been with a coach and he taught me everything I know about my position and how to succeed at the highest level,” Baumann said.
After being named an all-state lacrosse and football player by the Deseret News, Baumann is once again entering college with questions about his skills and size, mainly because he’s the only player in his recruiting class not from the talent-rich East Coast.
“The East Coast is actually less athletic than the west coast in terms of lacrosse, but their stick skills were unreal. … There’s a different level to the game where they see things develop before it happens and I’m just trying to get on their level,” Baumann said. “They all call me ‘Utah’ because that’s where I’m from and I’m not quite like them. … It puts me on an island but I want to make sure that when they call me that, there’s value to that name.”
Much like that night on the football field when he refused to back down, and like every other obstacle he’s encountered on an athletic field, Baumann is armed with that chip on his shoulder and ready to keep fighting and proving people wrong.
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