Don't be disappointed if you've never heard of some of our Top 25 Stories of 2011. This is not a list of stories with the most hits, or most views, or most comments. Many times a death, an award, a project in progress or recently completed can affect many, many lives without much fanfare in the press. Many of these stories bring fond memories, give us hope for the future, or inspire greatness, many times with a smile or a tear.
For the first time Major League Lacrosse held its collegiate draft before the completion of the NCAA season. In some ways it was a risky move, considering the many opportunities for injuries that could devastate an MLL team's vision of the future.
On the flip side, the hype for the MLL was magnified many times over during each televised college game where drafted players participated. If you watched any Syracuse games on television you probably lost count of the number of times you heard about how the Orange had the most number of players selected in the Draft. Did this add pressure to the "Syracuse Seven" in the already super-competitive environment that Division I lacrosse has become? Probably not. Did it increase expectations for their performances once they went Pro? I'll give that a 'maybe'.
Thinking back on it, this mentioning of the MLL Draft during each collegiate broadcast of games involving draftees probably didn't hurt the recruiting aspect for the colleges involved: "Come to our school . . . gateway to professional lacrosse."
On December 13th the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) named LaFayette native and Ithaca College graduate Tom Sutton as the Referee in Chief for the 2014 FIL World Men’s Lacrosse Championships, July 10-19, 2014, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver, Colo.
We watched Tom officiate the the Gold Medal Game of the 2006 World Championships in London, Ontario. He has worked the last six MLL Championship games, and he has several NCAA Champions Tournament games under his belt. Tom has also worked the indoor game, both for the NLL and in international play.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Niagara Frontier Lacrosse Officials Association.
From the press release: "This is one of the highest honors a lacrosse official can achieve," said Sutton, also an interpreter and a trainer. "I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues to provide the best, fairest officiating we can to the 2014 FIL World Championships."
US Lacrosse Press Release
Way back in the first week of January came word of NCAA sanctions against the Hobart lacrosse program. And then in April, six SUNY Potsdam teams, including the men's and women's lacrosse programs, were penalized for violations. We're not going into the legalese here, but needless to say even the cloud of an NCAA investigation, let alone sanctions, is not something any school family wants to think about.
Repairing any program is hard work, and, frankly, takes a lot of love from the administration, alumni, and fans. Keeping a program running smoothly is also hard work. If there is a silver lining to all this, perhaps every other lacrosse school has taken a step back and looked to assure that their programs are in compliance, and have sufficient internal oversight to keep them that way.
The summer of 2011 saw the return of not one, not two, but three Powell's in some form or fashion to their roots of Upstate NY, and Upstate lacrosse as well.
A couple of years after trading the somewhat 'unique' climate of Upstate (thanks to the wonderous Great Lakes) for sunny and warm (but let's not forget humid) Florida, Casey Powell temporarily returned in 2011 and brought a few friends . . . two U-18 varsity teams and a U-15 junior varsity team, all a part of his Team 22 Lacrosse Club. The group got a tour of the Syracuse University facilities and played in Jim Morrissey's 1st Annual Upstate Summer Classic before heading up to the Lake Placid Tournament.
Ryan Powell, who headed West to Oregon to establish his elite Rhino Lacrosse Club, brought his U-15 Jr. Black Rhinos East to tour Manley and the Dome before heading to Lake Placid as well.
It's nice to see the tradition of Upstate alums taking what they've learned here to other areas of the country hungry for 'this new sport'. Even better when those alums want to show off their roots and have their students tested against some of the best teams in the East.
In a different kind of return, Mikey Powell, inspired by Casey's MLL 'comeback' with Hamilton and scary injury as the Championship Game came to an end, came back to the game after a long absence devoting his time and effort to his love of music. Mikey wowed the crowd in Placid playing for the Burning Orange on an attack line with Liam Banks and Kenny Nims. And for the first week in December it looked like Mikey fans all over the country might get an early Christmas present as he registered for the MLL Expansion Draft, only to remove his name at nearly the last moment. Why, Mikey? Why?
One year ago this week lacrosse lost one of its greatest supporters as the President Emeritus of the Syracuse Lacrosse Stickmen's Club, John McElroy, 79, passed away after battling cancer. We never got the chance to meet John McElroy, and from what we've heard and read about the man, that was our great loss. "Mr. Mac" was founder of the Stickmen’s club, and the John McElroy Spirit and Dedication Award is presented annually to the member of the Orange ”who best exemplifies the continuous, quiet loyalty and determined dedication to the team.” We first learned of his death from Tya at the Syracuse.com Orange forum, and in January we asked Scott "Woody" Weddell to allow us to post his rememberence of John McElroy. Here is what he wrote:
"I have so much to thank Mr Mac for and have great memories of the time I was lucky enough to spend with him. He was one the kindest people I have ever met and someone that inspired me to be a better person, the stories he told me are still vivid and I will never forget the influence he has had on me and my family. He introduced me to everyone and looked after me everytime I made a trip to Syracuse, the McElroy family have been so very good to me over the years and it would be impossible for me to repay what they have done for me.
"The McElroy Award and what it stands for is a parallel of a truely great man, who put so much into the program and was so dedicated to the team, I'm sure hundreds of players and parents that he has touched over the years will never forget him. The spirit of Syracuse Lacrosse off the field is something very special, the people and the way they look after each other is amazing, John had a lot to do with this and his caring, selfless attitude was and still is infectious.
"Do you remember the Shamrock decals the players used to wear on their helmets, the decals where given to them by John McElroy at practice, I hope the team can do this again this year in dedication to him.
"I will never forget you Mr Mac, love to the McElroy family and Cuse faithful.
Former SU Student Manager Justin Simon posted his thoughts on 'Mr. Mac' at his College Crosse blog.
In May the National Junior College Athletic Association Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association inducted five new members to their Hall of Fame. Proudly, four are Upstate natives, and one an adopted son of the Upstate lacrosse family.
Eric Ungleich, a graduate of Cicero-North Syracuse High School, was All-County for three years, has an Empire Games Gold Medal, was a two-time All-American at Herkimer and then again a two-time All-American at Salisbury. He won two National Championships at Herkimer.
Regy Thorpe was captain and All-County at Jordan-Elbridge before moving on to Herkimer CC where he was Defenseman of the Year. He was a member of the Syracuse University National Championship team of 1993 where he was Captain and an All-American. Regy is currently the head coach of the Hamilton Nationals of the MLL and assistant coach of the SU Women's lacrosse team.
Grag Tarbell, an All-American at LaFayette in 1978, went on to star on the SUNY Cobelskill Championship teams of 1979 and 1980. He transferred to Syracuse and set the team record of nine goals in a game, since tied by Gary Gait and Casey Powell.
Rick Sowell, a native of Horseheads, also played at SUNY Cobleskill where he helped them to two Regional Titles. After transferring to Washington College, Sowell was a two-time All-American and the D-III Midfielder of the Year in 1985. Sowell had a long professional career as a player, and has coached many years at the college level. In June he was named the head coach at the Navel Academy.
Bob Buhmann, a Long Island native, transferred to Cornell from Nassau Community College, and helped the Big Red to the National Championship in 1971. He was an assistant coach at Cortland when they won National Championships in '73 and '75.
You can get more career details of all these great men from the Induction Press Release.
After a one year hiatus, the Empire State Games made a valiant comeback in 2010 as the Buffalo community banded together and put on a great edition. Things went so well that it looked like a formula had been found that would allow a resumption of the annual spectacular.
Later that year, however, the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation cut off all funding for the Games, and the full-time staff either resigned or were re-assigned. For several months it looked as if this great, ground-breaking event had come to an end for good.
But if the Empire State Sports Foundation of Rochester has anything to say about it, the tradition may return. In November they announced the first step in an attempt to have the ESG's back up and running, albeit without State financing, in 2013. This would be held in Rochester, with the hope to again have the Games moved throughout the state in following years. You can read more on their plans at the Prep Talk blog in the Buffalo News.
Two Upstate women's programs had truly remarkable seasons with outstanding performances and top notch coaching. The Le Moyne Dolphins were playing their first season at the Division II level after having to move from Division I after many years. Joining their counterparts on the men's side in the Northeast-10 Conference, the ladies lost to only one team in 2011 . . . the eventual National Champion Adelphi Panthers. Unfortunately, they had to play them three times, with losses in the NE-10 regular season and conference tournament, along with a National Semi-final loss accounting for their three defeats in 2011. That semi-final was a Division II battle of the #1 and #2 teams in the nation.
Seniors Rebekah Elmer (West Genesee) and Katlin Walker (Penn Yan Academy) and junior Brittany Brigandi (Christian Brothers Academy-Syracuse/UMass) were named IWLCA First Team All-Americans. Those same three were also NE-10 All-Confernce First Team, while senior midfielder Mia Valletta (Niskayuna) was named to the second team, and freshman midfielder Victoria Nies (Jamesville-DeWitt) landed on the All-Rookie Team. Brigandi also broke the Le Moyne record for most goals in a season.
In the classroom, the Lady Dolphins excelled as well. The team received the NE-10 Women's Lacrosse Team Academic Excellence Award with a team grade point average (GPA) of 3.35.
Much is expected of the Dolphins in 2012 as well, as they were just recently named Lacrosse Magazine's Pre-season #1.
The women of SUNY Albany also had an outstanding season as they remained undefeated throughout the regular season and the America East Tournament, only to lose in the NCAA Tournament to eventual Nation Champion Northwestern. Heading into the Tournament, Albany was the only remaining undefeated Division I school.
Many players acheived personal bests throughout the season, and with the team earning both the AE regular season crown and the Tournament Championship, the were many post-season awards as well:
Nikki Branchini (Guilderland): America East Conference Co-Player of the Year; first UAlbany player to earn first-team All-America East recognition four times; All-Conference First Team; Synapse Sports Division I Women's Lacrosse All-America Team; 2011 IWLCA All-America 2nd Team; UAlbany Female Athlete of the Year; AE Conference Lacrosse and Overall Female Athlete of the Year; AE Woman of the Year.
Taylor Frink (Baldwinsville): One of 24 Nominees for Tewaaraton Award; set Albany single-season records for points and assists; All-Conference First Team; WomensLax.com Division I All-America; Synapse Sports Division I Women's Lacrosse All-America Team; 2011 IWLCA All-America 2nd Team.
Ariana Parker (Kingston): IWLCA All-Northeast Region first team; All-America East first team; Conference All-Rookie Team; Synapse Sports National All-Rookie team.
Jodi Battaglia (Amherst): All-Conference First Team.
Michelle Primomo (Bethlehem Central): All-Conference First Team; Conference All-Rookie Team.
John Battaglino: America East Coach of the Year; WomensLax.com Division I Coach of the Year; Synapse Sports National Coach of the Year.
Several rule variations were tried during fall ball this year after many fans, coaches, and players voiced their opinions that the 'fastest game on two feet' has become, at times, slow and plodding. While walking the tunnels to the locker rooms or standing in line at the concessions, you might even hear the word 'boring' tossed around.
Purists think up and down, fast and furious is the way the game is supposed to be played. But what worries most people is that the current expansion of the sport of lacrosse towards the mainstream of American and global fandom will reach an abrupt halt if even those who love the game find it tedious to watch.
There have been many suggestions as to what the cure might be, and several of these were tried during the 2011 Fall Ball season. Limiting on-the-fly substitutions, reverting to the old count rules, quicker restarts, and what is perhaps the most controversial subject, shot clocks all got a look-see this autumn. The results of the trials? I think 'generally favorable' might be the most accurate response. The shot clocks didn't seem to affect the game to a great degree, but the cost to colleges, and trickling down, high schools, could be a problem. Teams found a way around the limited substitutions with wide shots to get a horn.
There are still other ways to speed up play without changing the field rules. Reducing or eliminating long sticks could entice the offense to take more chances. Further tweaking of head size, offset and pocket size should create more loose balls, and thus more exciting play (as discussed Sunday in Dave Rahme's Orange Lacrosse Blog.
This subject will no doubt make next year's Top 25. Let's hope there is a concensus that will save the sport we all love, and allow many more people to love it as well.
After two early season losses to Army and Virginia, Big Red Head Coach Ben Deluca rallied the troops and reeled off eight straight wins, including
an 11-6 upset of then #1 Syracuse in the Dome. An undefeated Ivy League schedule gave them their 9th consecutive Ivy League regular season title and earned them the right to host the League Championship Tourmanent where the winning continued with victories over Yale and Harvard.
The accumulating W's also carried the Big Red slowly but surely up the rankings, climbing from #9/#12 in the March 14th Media/Coaches Polls to #2 in both polls on May 9th and securing the #2 Seed in the NCAA Tournament. A 12-5 opening round win over Hartford at home kept spirits high. In the quarterfinals at Hofstra, Cornell faced one of the two teams they had lost to earlier in the season. The Big Red took an early 4-1 over #7 seed Virginia, but the Cavs scored the last 9 goals of the first half to take the lead which they never relinquished.
The Oneida Nation's Turning Stone Casino Resort, with experience hosting major golf events and tennis exhibitions, has jumped headlong into supporting and promoting an important aspect of the Haudenosaunee culture, lacrosse.
For most, the love for lacrosse that has come to non-natives over the past century also brought an understanding of the importance of lacrosse in the culture of Native Americans. It is very important to them, as it should be to the entire lacrosse family, that as we try to spread the love for the game across the country and across the planet, that we also take care to teach the roots of lacrosse as a cultural pillar of the Haudenosaunee, as well as of other Native groups who have celebrated the Creator's gift for hundreds, if not thousands or years.
This past year saw the Oneida Nation, through the Turning Stone, take steps in that direction by hosting two major box lacrosse events. The NLL All-Star Game being held at the Turning Stone Event Center was an opportunity to connect one path being taken to teach and promote the sport with its traditionals roots. And the event allowed the National Lacrosse League to recognize and honor the Iroquois National Team.
"We are pleased to be able to honor the Iroqouis Nationals team for the great character they displayed during an extremely difficult situation this past summer", said NLL Commissioner George Daniel. "We are proud to have them as part of our All-Star Game this weekend".
In October, the Turning Stone played host to the second annual Bowhunter Cup, a 'friendly competition' between the indoor teams of the Iroquois Nationals and Team USA. The Nationals defeated the United States to even the series at 1-1.
Inside Lacrosse reported in May of rumors that the Turning Stone may play a part in a third, and very major event that could happen here in Upsate New York. It's believed the Haudenosaunee and the US have put in a joint bid to host the 2015 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships, with games to be played at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, and on Oneida Nation territory in Verona, site of the Turning Stone.
What better experience could there be for the Upstate lacrosse family than to join hands and teach the world the true story of lacrosse?
Isn't the chance for a big time upset that really keeps us watching any sport? Seems obvious since 'rooting for the underdog' seems to have become ingrained in American culture.
There were some big upsets around these parts in 2011, and on the High School side we're going to concentrate on Section 6 because we haven't given it the coverage it truly deserves. We hope to fix that throughout the 2012 season.
The Section 6 Championships featured two huge upsets. First, Clarence stunned Orchard Park 7-5 in Class A after being down 5-1, outscoring OP 6-0 in the last 25 minutes. Just hours later Niagara-Wheatfield ousted 4-time defending Class B champion Hamburg 10-9 in OT. The loss to Clarence wasn't the first upset suffered by Western powerhouse Orchard Park in 2011. Earlier in the season Class C Silver Creek downed OP 12-11, a win that rocked Section 6 in a way we'll be discussing tomorrow. Silver Creek, led by Zeddy Williams (99G, 56A for 2011), continued with upsets in the post-season with wins over Amherst and Penn Yan. West Seneca East edged Hamburg 6-5 in early May, giving the Bulldogs their first loss to an area team in four years.
On the girls' side, Frontier won the Section 6 Class A title with a 6-3 win over six-time defendng champion Lancaster.
There were some notible upsets in the college game, as well. #5 Cornell went up to the Dome on April 12th and upset the #1 Orange in pretty convincing fashion, 11-6. In Division II, #5 seed Merrimack defeated the national #1 Le Moyne in the NE-10 semi-finals, their second upset of the Dolphins in two years. And perhaps the most talked about upset, Upstater Grant Catalino scored the overtime game-winner as unseeded Maryland upset the #1 Orange in the NCAA quarterfinals in May.
And finally, yes, literally the last game of the season for the Cornell women, #2 Florida travelled to Ithaca and went home in defeat as the Big Red ended the Gators' 14-game win streak, 9-6, and gave head coach Jenny Graap her 150th career win.
Every year has its share of coaching changes, but in 2011 they seemed to be a weekly event. Upstate saw maybe more than it's share:
Ed Stephenson resigned at Binghamton in a dispute with the administration over the suspension of three players alledgedly involved in a fight. He is now Associate Head Coach at UMBC.
Scott Nelson, three times a National Champion head coach at Nazareth, left the top job at Marist to fill the opening at Binghamton. Keegan Wilkinson was promoted to the head coaching position at Marist.
Jim Stagnitta left Rutgers amicably after ten seasons.
Jim Nagle returned to his native Long Island to take the top spot at Stony Brook, leaving Colgate after ten years. Army assistant Mike Murphy takes over the helm for the Red Raiders.
Finger Lakes Lacrosse Club founder and former Orangeman Jim Morressey was elevated from assistant to interim head coach at Holy Cross in March, then was named to the permanent position on April 28th.
The School Board in the Jordan-Elbridge School District chose not to reappoint longtime coach Rick Young and JV coach Mike Smart. After assistants turned down the open positions and resigned in support, the District had to scramble to find coaches for the season. Upstate lacrosse icon BJ O'Hara stepped in to help save the season. Early last month the School Board voted 6-0 to restore Young as varsity head coach for the 2012 season.
Finding themselves down 5-1 early in the second quarter, the Onondaga Community College men fought back to claim a 12-9 victory and their 3rd straight NJCAA Championship. After a 19-0 2011, Coach Chuck Wilbur is now 168-17 in 10 seasons at the helm.
Though we haven't done the research, it's almost frightening to think of the total winning margin over the past six years.
Barely 15 miles outside our normal coverage area, it seems we'll have to 'adopt' the Mercyhurst men into our Upstate family since the Division II Champions had 30 Upstate alums on their 2011 roster as they defeated Adelphi 9-8 in the NCAA Title Game.
We'd love to list them all, but you'll have to settle for a quick breakdown: 8 from Section 3; 18 from Section 5; and 4 from Section 6.
We've included as many as time allowed. There were many who made Second and Third Team All-America lists, and many more with Conference and League Awards.
We lead off, though, with one from the High School ranks that not only seemed noteworthy, but occurred all on the same night: Following in the footsteps of players named Coffman, Powell, Dingman, and Grimm, Carhtage High's Nick Piroli had a huge night on May 10th. Piroli's 12 assists broke a Ryan Powell record from 1995, and he added a goal for 13 points on the night. He also crossed the 100-point mark for the season, and became the first Carthage laxer to win five league titles in his varsity career.
Gregory Bensman: D-III Long Pole Midfielder of the Year; USILA First Team AA.
Jeremy Boltus: USILA First Team AA; MLL Rookie of the Year.
Sam Bradman: USILA First Team AA; Scored 7 goals vs. Tufts in the D-III Championship Game; Lacrosse Magazine 2012 D-III Pre-season Player of the Year.
Corey Bulken: was honored as the top specialty player in the country. Bulken, a USILA All-America and Northeast-10 Conference First Team selection.
Grant Catalino: USILA Scholar All-America Team; Scored OT goal to carry Maryland over #1 Syracuse in NCAA quarterfinals; Tied MLL record with nine goals against Hamilton.
Chris DeLuca: Fran McCall Award as the 2011 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Div. III Outstanding Midfield Player; USILA First Team AA.
Jason Distefano: USILA First Team AA.
John Galloway: Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr. Award: Outstanding Goalie; USILA First Team AA; Set D-I Record for Wins by Goalie.
Brian Karalunas: 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award; USILA First Team AA.
MJ Kiekebelt: USILA First Team AA; D-III Long Pole Midfielder of the Year.
John Lade: William C. Schmeisser Award for Outstanding Defensive Player; USILA First Team AA.
Pat Moran: William C. Schmeisser Award as the most outstanding defensive player in Division II; USILA First Team AA; Northeast-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year; Northeast-10 First Team.
Rob Pannell: Lt. Raymond J. Enners Award: Outstanding Player of the Year; Lt. Col. J.L. (Jack) Turnbull Award: Outstanding Attackman; USILA First Team AA.
Justin Schneidman: USILA First Team AA.
Mike Tota: 2011 Capital One College Division Academic All-America Men's At-Large Second Team.
Jack Venditti: received the Lt. Col. J.I. (Jack) Turnbull Award as the nation's most outstanding attackman; USILA First Team AA; USILA Scholar All-America Team, Northeast-10 Conference First Team; Northeast-10 Conference Player of the Year.
USILA Scholar All-America TeamWomen
Lindsay Abbott: IWLCA First Team AA; ECAC Offensive Player of the Year; Synapse Sports National Midfielder of the Year; In three seasons, Abbott is already Cortland's career leader with 126 assists and 311 total points and is tied for fifth with 185 goals.
Sarah Bray: IWLCA First Team AA.
Nikki Branchini: America East Conference Co-Player of the Year; first UAlbany player to earn first-team All-America East recognition four times; All-Conference First Team; Synapse Sports Division I Women's Lacrosse All-America Team; 2011 IWLCA All-America 2nd Team; UAlbany Female Athlete of the Year; AE Conference Lacrosse and Overall Female Athlete of the Year; AE Woman of the Year.
Brittany Brigandi: IWLCA First Team AA; broke the Le Moyne record for most goals in a season.
Rebekah Elmer: IWLCA First Team AA.
Taylor Frink: One of 24 Nominees for Tewaaraton Award; set Albany single-season records for points and assists; All-Conference First Team; WomensLax.com Division I All-America; Synapse Sports Division I Women's Lacrosse All-America Team; 2011 IWLCA All-America 2nd Team.
Meg Pengue: IWLCA First Team AA.
Michele Tumolo: Named to US Senior National Team.
Jennifer VanderMeulen: First-team All-Ivy; Ivy League All-Tournament team; Led the Ivy League in goals (48) and goals per game (3.00); third in the Ivies in points (53); Led the Ancient Eight in free position goals per game (0.94) … Scored 100th career goal in regular season finale against Dartmouth; Scored three or more goals 12 times and four or more five times.
Kaitlin Walker: IWLCA First Team AA.
IWLCA Scholar Athletes
As we saw yesterday there were many outstanding achievements for Upstate players in 2011, and there was no let down in the coaching department. Upstate was well represented with four national coaching awards.
Chris Ryan, an Irondequoit native and head coach of Division II Champion Mercyhurst was named USILA D-II Coach of the Year. He holds a 123-31 career record, ranking him in the top-5 among active coaches in winning percentage.
A native of Homer, and a graduate of Nazareth College, RIT head man Jake Coon was named the USILA Division III Coach of the Year. As we saw earlier, RIT won their first 19 games of the 2011 season. In just two seasons as a head coach, Coon has amassed an impressive 33-7 record, two conference championsips and two straight trips to the NCAA Tournament.
Also in his second year, SUNY Albany's John Battaglino was named the nation's top Divison I coach for the 2011 season by Lacrosse Magazine, Inside Lacrosse, Snyapse Sports and WomensLax.com. Battaglino is a graduate of Siena, and earned two gradulate degress. As an assistant coach he was instrumental in the success and growth of the Syracuse University women's program before moving to the top spot at Albany.
Dave Hoover, head coach at Genesee Community College, was named the Scott D. Livie Memorial Award/Coach of the Year by the NJCAA. Hoover is a long-time coach in the Western NY area, including the top spot at Niagara University. Coach Hoover will enter his sixth season as head coach in the spring of 2012.
In 2010 our #1 story was "Iroquois Nationals Denied". It was tremendous the see the Iroquois Nation return to international lacrosse and continue their long, proud tradition in 2011.
The Nationals took a great team and plenty of confidence to Prague for the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships. An 11-10 win over Team USA gave the Iroquois the top spot in Group B and a date to face the suprising Czech Rupublic in the Medal Round semi's. A 19-6 win there put them right where they wanted to be - facing the Canadians and a try at avenging their OT loss to them in Nova Scotia in 2007.
The team was honored at the NLL All-Star Game played at the Oneida Nation's Turning Stone Resort, and in October the team returned there to once again down Team USA, this time in the second annual Bowhunters Cup.
Rumored to be in the works is a joint Iroquois-US bid to host the 2015 Indoor Championships in Upstate NY.
Since lacrosse has yet to grow enough to have its own idioms, we'll have to borrow one from, I'm sorry, baseball. "Wow! This came out of left field!"
In mid-September is was announced that the ACC Council of Presidents had unanimously voted to accept Pittsburgh and Syracuse as new members. It really wasn't a surprise that it happened. It's just that it's very difficult for people who have advance knowledge of these types of earth-shattering events to keep quiet about them. OK, so maybe earth-shattering is a little strong . . . unless you are one of the remaining Big East schools.
Obviously most of the attention shines on its effect on football and basketball. But throughout the lacrosse world, just the thought of Syracuse joining the likes of Maryland and North Carolina and Duke and, oh my, Virginia! in one conference is scary-sweet. The Orange see these teams on a fairly regular basis as it is, but the fans don't. Will this mean a few more meaningful games in the Dome each season, or must we trek down to some neutral sight to catch these great Conference matchups?
Sure, still no automatic qualifyer for now, but the often talked about RPI affect the ACC Tournament provides just ratcheded up a notch or two.
A very charished member of the Upsate lacrosse family, Carthage head coach Kirk Ventiquattro, has recently begun prostate cancer treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York City. Lacrosse family from around the country have stepped forward to helped in any way possible, from arranging a refferal to Sloan-Kettering, to covering expenses, and providing a place to stay. You can help, as well, whether it's by purchasing a Coach 24 t-shirt from LaxBal.com, or offering words of encouragment as Coach tweets about his experiences as @CoachTwenty4.
There was no greater event in lacrosse than what happened at the Section 3 Upstate Risings tryouts at Fayetteville-Manlius High on June 15, 2011.
A life was saved.
Do to the quick reactions of Rome Free Academy lacrosse coaches Guy Calandra and Jeremy Roberts, F-M trainer Cyndi Kelder, and a mother of two other players who was a register nurse, Dan Cochran, a sophomore defender from Jamesville-DeWitt was revived after being hit in the chest and collapsing to the ground. Credit also goes to organizer and Hall of Famer Tom Hall and F-M boys lacrosse coach Chris Kenneally for making sure there was an AED on site for the tryouts.
This tragedy-averted was yet another testimony as to how critically important having AED's at all sporting events, as Joshua Christian, managing director, sport development at US Lacrosse was quick to point out.
Dan was out of the hospital after one night, and went back to school just two days after the incident. And he was able to participate in the Upstate Risings Tournament, shown in the photo above starting a clear for Section 3.
The heroes from that day were thanked by Dan, his family, and the community for their quick actions that saved a life.
And his story lives on as well. The school paper, The J-D RamPage gave him the opportunity to reflect four months after his 'death'. “I guess when something like this happens, you appreciate more things people do for you,” he said.