Young lacrosse players all over the country battled it out the past few weeks to be the last teams left standing and the seniors, many of them playing in their last lacrosse games ever, did everything they could to end their high school careers with a State Championship. No matter if you play in a hotbed like Maryland or an emerging area like Michigan, the road to the State Championship is getting harder every year as teams everywhere get better and better.
Winning a State Championship really is one of the most elusive championships in lacrosse. Time is short to make your mark in high school lacrosse history.
Many great players who went on to be college all-americans or professional all-stars never tasted State Championship glory. Casey, Ryan, and Mike Powell surprisingly never won a state championship, but their younger brother Mason was able to win the Class C New York State Championship at Cazenovia High School in 2011.
I never won a state championship as I was knocked out of the playoffs in the Quarterfinals both years I was on varsity at De La Salle Collegiate High School, but I would jealously watch the teams in the finals that I played against earlier in the year raising the trophy wishing it had been my teammates and I instead. It is all you talk about in the preseason meetings or on the bus rides to games. This is the year we win the state championship. This is the year we put in the extra work. This is our last chance to get a ring.
Just like any game of lacrosse, anything can happen in the State Championship. Expect the most dramatic moments to come when it matters the most. I think of Ward Melville in 2017 scoring 4 goals in less than 2 minutes to send it to overtime and completing the improbable comeback.
Cherry Creek had to find a way to battle through extra adversity as they won the Class 5A Colorado State Championship in a snowstorm in May.
— Rod Mackey (@Rod9sports) May 21, 2019
Or just this past weekend as Brother Rice reclaimed the Michigan Division 1 State title beating Detroit Catholic Central with 1 second left.
BOYS LACROSSE: Check out @BrotherRice_Lax senior @JustinGlod's GAME WINNER with 1 second left in regulation to lift the Warriors to victory 14-13 in the D1 state championship over Detroit Catholic Central!@BroRiceWarriors @MHSAA pic.twitter.com/wM3YN3KshF
— STATE CHAMPS! Michigan (@statechampsmich) June 9, 2019
I can only imagine how special it is to be in a State Championship game. Winning in high school is different than any other level of lacrosse. Many of the guys or girls you play with you have likely known since elementary school. You learned how to play lacrosse together in the backyard and have come a long way from learning to throw and catch to now executing a perfect fast break or two man game. Winning with them would mean so much more than winning a championship on a club or travel team.
Your classmates and teachers wishing you good luck as you walk the halls at school the day of the game wearing your jersey or a shirt and tie. Getting featured on the local news or in the newspaper representing your school, your community, and your team as the last ones standing out of dozens or in some states hundreds of teams.Your student section cheers you on and trash talks the other team all game giving you that extra boost to play even harder.
In the high school lacrosse playoffs and championships, players that just started playing in high school for fun and worked hard enough to make it to varsity will face the blue chip recruits going to Duke, Syracuse, Michigan, and elite college teams all over the country. Who wants to win the state championship more? The D1 recruit who will get to keep playing in college or the senior playing in their last competitive lacrosse game ever?
That is the beauty of high school lacrosse. It doesn’t matter where you are going to college or how many years you have played lacrosse in these games. All that matters is who wants it more. Who is willing to make sacrifices for their team in order to win it all? These are games that will stay with the players forever no matter if they win or lose. Regretting a missed pass or bad play or remembering that winning feeling.
Congratulations to all of the State and League Champions in every state who came together to win and be the last ones left standing as they raise the trophy in a moment they will never forget.