Cash Money: Soft-Spoken Cashin Leads Ultimate Elite to USL Nationals Final


Ultimate Elite's Audrey Cashin helped lead her 13U team to the US Lacrosse Nationals final on July 30.

Speak softly, and carry a big stick.

Ultimate Elite defender Audrey Cashin embodies the popular phrase, even if it has strayed from its origins under former President Theodore Roosevelt.

Cashin, a soft-spoken 13-year-old, let her play speak for her at the ninth annual US Lacrosse Nationals July 28-30 in Richmond, Va. She survived tryouts of 100 players to make the Ultimate club’s 13U tournament team, then patrolled the backfield to help the Philadelphia and South Jersey squad reach the gold medal game.

“It means a lot to be here,” Cashin said. “It’s the farthest we’ve ever driven for an event. It’s fun. The offensive players here have been a step up from home.”

Cashin proved she could compete at the event, which featured 36 total teams from 10 states.

“It’s a pleasure to coach her,” Ultimate Elite coach Tracy Zimmer said. “She’s improved throughout the season. She is one of those quiet leaders who will get the job done, but won’t necessarily be vocal. Her teammates look to her and respect her play.”

Cashin has made a habit of earning respect on and off the field. She earned the nickname “Cash Money” for her play, which began at attack and midfield before settling at defense. She wields a proverbial big stick to get things done at school and in her community despite contending with partial hearing loss in her right ear. That accounts, at least to a certain degree, for her soft-spoken nature.

“About five years ago, we noticed she couldn’t hear my in-laws when they’d call to talk to her,” mom Rachel Cashin said.

As a speech pathologist, Rachel Cashin thought right away that something might be wrong. An appointment with an audiologist provided the diagnosis. The cause remains unconfirmed.

“She used to get frustrated when she’d miss the whistle in gym class or a teacher saying ‘go’ to start something,” Rachel Cashin said. “I’m more worried about the social aspect. She’d never be rude, but sometimes she just misses things when people talk to her and she’ll walk right by.”

Everyone adjusts. Audrey tries to listen as best she can. Teachers at Harrington Middle School use an amplification system.

Spend time with Audrey, and rudeness is the last thing you’ll experience. Her kindness has won over parts of Mount Laurel, N.J. After overcoming reading difficulties thanks to private tutoring, Audrey developed a love of books.

“She’d constantly be getting books as presents,” Rachel Cashin said. “Finally I asked her what are we going to do with all these books.”

So Audrey started a library at the family house.

“I wanted to do something for my community,” Audrey Cashin said. “Maybe some kids’ parents aren’t home to drive them to the library, so they can walk to ours.”

Younger sister Abigail helps by color-coding books to their genres. Audrey got help from a former teacher that built a rolling book cart. The Library on the Lane has attracted more than 100 visitors. The books remain on the family’s covered porch. Rules are posted.

“There’s been a lot of people coming from our neighborhood; hopefully from more neighborhoods to come,” Audrey Cashin said.

A tryout of 100 players for the Ultimate Elite team may not have fazed Audrey considering she beat out nine kids for student council president going into sixth grade at Hartford School. She had to give a speech about her community service project, “Kindness is Contagious.”

Audrey asked her mom to take her to area businesses. Leaving mom in the car, Audrey met with managers and secured coupons as prizes for acts of kindness committed by students.

“If you do something kind and another student recognizes it, they write your name on a pass and submit it,” Audrey Cashin said. “We pick people out of a hat, and they get a coupon for one of the vendors.”

Cash money.

“Too often kids hear ‘don’t bully,’ but don’t hear messages about what actually to do,” Rachel Cashin said. “This was a positive message to do something kind.”

Audrey’s program was to run just for one year, since she’d be moving on to middle school. But it became so popular, Hartford School adopted it permanently.

Actions speak louder than words.

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