Nineteen. That’s the number of spots that dress on a Major League Lacrosse game day roster. It’s a tough task to land a spot, and unfortunately for midfield JT Blubaugh, things didn’t go his way and didn’t get a chance to dress after being picked in the eighth round of the 2017 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft. As a local kid from Westerville, Ohio, Blubaugh played for Ohio State after being named a high school All-American in 2011 and 2013. Blubaugh finished his senior year with a career-high 15 goals, seven assists and 22 points while playing in all 15 games and starting 11. However, Blubaugh was given the opportunity to be on the Machine’s Practice Squad for the 2017 season though and seized the opportunity to make an impression to the Machine coaching staff.
“He has a strong work ethic,” Machine head coach Bear Davis said. “I know there’s always going to be a learning curve when transitioning to the pros, but I think that he can really progress himself into a clutch player. Plus, he is a team guy. He was a captain at Ohio State and he performed well in the Ohio Lacrosse Fall Classic, so he could be a good asset for us heading into training camp.”
In addition to working on the Resolute Lacrosse staff, Blubaugh has been coaching at his alma mater Columbus St. Francis Desales, who will take part in the 2018 Ohio Machine High School Showcase on March 17. Blubaugh will join Dominique Alexander as the two Machine players who will coach teams in the event.
“I think it’s really cool,” Blubaugh said. “The kids are being coached by guys that have played the game for a long time. That’s really how our mission of growing the game is going to happen. And of course, I really can’t wait to show off my team this year to Dominique.”
Blubaugh appeared at the Arnold Sports Festival’s Kids and Teens Expo this weekend, along with teammates Tyler Pfister and Dominique Alexander, and head coach Bear Davis. The quartet enjoyed giving many kids their first exposure to the game of lacrosse with an inflatable target practice, and a radar gun setup. In addition, they signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans and the Steinfeld Trophy.
“I think it’s key to come to these types of events, to show people the sport of lacrosse firsthand,” Blubaugh said. “You know, letting them take a shot on goal and see how fun of a sport it is, and just learning more through more visibility the Machine, with the Ohio State program that we have in Columbus. I think the game is going to continue to grow here and we are going to produce really great players out of the state of Ohio.”
As JT Blubaugh still has aspirations to appear in a Major League Lacrosse game, he was given a second chance, and was selected by the Machine in the 11th round of the 2018 MLL Supplemental Draft. Blubaugh now looks to fight his way to the 23-man roster at Ohio Machine training camp in April and says he has been keeping himself in shape.
“Obviously with a month and a half now until then, I’ve been hitting the weight room and getting my running in,” Blubaugh said. “You know it’s obviously tough in our sport where you have jobs and you have coaching and then you have to hit the gym afterwards, but it’s a dedication thing and you know I think guys being dedicated is what got us the championship last year. I hope to add on to the team and have a good training camp.”