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Ranger Lacrosse: Working towards high standards

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Last season, the boys varsity lacrosse team won the State Championship in Division One. This year, they look for another successful season. Only this time, head coach Patrick Clay will be at helm. With many assets on the field, two of his most important ones will be his own sons.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” said Bryce who was the top goal scorer on the team last year. “It’s cool that my dad is coaching, but he’s a tough guy. My dad wants the best, and I have to show him the best. Also, playing with my little brother is pretty cool; I think I’ll really enjoy that.”

As the season rolls around, Clay looks for opportunities to build and toughen up the team. He has watched this team for several years now and hopes to add key tactics to ensure success. Coaching his own kids won’t be out of the ordinary for Clay.

“Coaching my kids in high school, it’s interesting. I’ve coached all my kids over the years but at this level, being a high school sport it’s definitely different.” he said. “With Bryce, it is a little different, because he’s been on the team a couple years. Jackson was one of the kids who had a great tryout and the other coaches basically evaluated him and put him in a position to be there. It’s interesting with him, because you have to ride him a little harder, since he doesn’t have that experience yet. It’s a good opportunity for him.”

With a new team, a new season, and a new coach, the hype surrounding the season is real. Jacob Demeter, Riley Murphy, Garrett Decamp, Kade Shomin, Jackson Clay, Cam Dienes, and Zack Stockrefe are some new additions to this year’s team. One senior, who’s had lots of experience at the varsity level is Nick Carter. Nick has been, and will be leading this team again in his final season.

“The thing I’m looking forward to most is not even the games, it’s outside of that,” he said. “Being on this team is like having twenty brothers. It’s the best part, and we always have a good time. Mr. Clay is great. He’s like a second dad. He knows what to say to get us motivated, and he’s always doing the right thing.”

Working hard to improve with new players and a new coaching staff, the expectations remain as high as they were previously. Logan Wedder, a sophomore, is now playing his second year on Varsity.

“I’m excited to hopefully win another State Championship,” Logan said, “Mr. Clay has been coaching us since we have been young. I’m very excited for him to be our coach this year.”

FHC lost several big seniors due to graduation a year ago. Andrew Clay, Connor Nolan, Cam Harris, Max Kuiper, Ryan Bailey, and Caden Schirmers will all leave a legacy that this year’s team hopes to follow.

“I expect the best,” said Nick, who is going to Cleveland State University to play at the collegiate level next year.”With the skill we have and where we should be, there’s no limit on what we should do this year. I’m excited to keep playing in college; it should be fun. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m going with one of my good friends, so I’m excited to see what’s next.”

With the weight of a State Championship on their back, the boys are under an immense amount of pressure. The bond of this team is foreseen to be unbreakable, and they will keep working and awaiting another progressive season.

“I’m excited,” Clay said. “It’s a little bit different. I’ve been on the other side of the field watching this team play for a long time. Being a part of this program is an honor. Being able to be in front and leading these guys is great. To wear a Forest Hills Ranger Lacrosse Jersey is a privilege. Sometimes, kids tend to think it is a right. We have a special group of guys. With hard work, it’ll be interesting to see how things end up.”

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Ranger Lacrosse: Working towards high standards