After a decorated playing career, and spending several years as a college coach, Jess Roguski Onheiser found herself in a self-described lacrosse crossroad.
The former Liberty High School and Vanderbilt University standout served as an assistant coach at Ohio University and Loyola Maryland, and said she grew fond of the player development facet of her job. Onheiser served as assistant athletic director and varsity girls lacrosse coach at Garrison Forest from 2008-12, yet felt something missing.
“It was just a lot, and I had two [sons],” said Onheiser, who lives in Westminster. “So to be honest, it was wanting to balance family and work. ... I tried to figure out, how could I still make a living, stay home with my boys, but also do what I love?”
Recruit-Her, LLC grew from Onheiser’s love of the sport, and her passion for teaching it to others.
Onheiser, 36, is the founder and owner of the company, which offers services to improve individual and team skills through personal training sessions. She led such a session Wednesday morning at Deer Park Sports Complex, where seven incoming eighth-graders went through specific techniques and drills to work on different aspects of their game.
“It’s really fun, and a lot of my friends come and do it,” said 13-year-old Brinley Tozer. “We’re together and we have a fun time.”
Brinley, who attends West Middle School, said this is her second summer spending time with Onheiser. In fact, all seven of Wednesday’s attendees were veterans of the personal training workouts.
It showed toward the end of practice, when Onheiser had the girls in pairs, running hard through a series of one-on-one ball-hawking drills.
Nobody complained despite a bright sun, warming temperatures, and a few-minutes-longer-than-usual session.
“It’s just the way Coach Jess approaches it,” said Olivia Sprinkle, 13, a Shiloh Middle student. “She knows how to train us and she knows how to talk to us. She knows what drills we need to do during our offseason to just keep our stick in our hand.”
Onheiser earned four Times first-team all-county honors when she played at Liberty, and finished her high school career with 184 goals. She took off at Vanderbilt, too — Onheiser was a two-time team captain for the Commodores, and led them to a NCAA Division I tournament Final Four appearance in 2004.
She ranks in Vanderbilt’s all-time top 10 in goals, points, caused turnovers, and draw controls, and her 117 goals are ninth most in program history.
Onheiser joined the Vanderbilt Hall of Fame in 2011, and two years ago she entered the Greater Baltimore Chapter Hall of Fame by U.S. Lacrosse.
Her Recruit-Her mission is simple, she said — get better, and feel good about it. And Onheiser’s charges certainly get their opportunities to succeed.
She keeps track of each drill and jots them down, either thought up or recalled from previous coaching stints, and said she tries not to teach the same routine twice.
“I think I have about eight of those 200-page notebooks of drills,” Onheiser said. “In my quiet time, in the morning, is probably when I’m most creative. Or in silence, in the car, I’ll think of the kids that are coming. Always the day before, or two days before, I’ll write everything out.”
Onheiser’s company also offers consulting to educate players and parents about the multi-faceted recruiting process, according to the company’s website.
Brinley and Olivia said they’ve become better players since practicing with Onheiser. The rest of the girls agreed with their counterparts.
They’ll take a break from Recruit-Her when school starts, but Onheiser is set to keep going. She said she has year-round clients in Baltimore, Carroll, and Howard counties, and her busiest time is the winter when girls are gearing up for their spring seasons.
Onheiser said she strives to stay current with her personal training classes, and she brings her own equipment so the girls can hone as many skills as possible.
Whatever it takes to enhance the experience for her young clients.
“I wish I had stuff like this. I didn’t have access to this as a player,” Onheiser said. “These guys, they enjoy it. They’re hungry, they love it. I very rarely get a client whose parent is making them do it.