Behind the scenes at the Warrior 40

August, 15, 2012
RELATED LINKS: Warrior 40 Day 1 Photo Gallery | Warrior 40 Day 2 Photo Gallery | Warrior 40 Day 3 Photo Gallery

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- The Warrior 40 brings together 40 of the best high school lacrosse players in the country for two days of competition and camaraderie, but what many people see is the competition that happens on the field.

Here are some news and notes from behind the scenes.

What’s In a Name

If ESPNHS were to do an All-Name team there is no doubt St. Mark’s (Dallas) defender Bear Goldstein would make the list.

But he might have to make the list twice since Bear is not Goldstein’s birth name, but a nickname.

The rising senior’s given name is Sierra Moon. According to Goldstein’s father Robert, it took a few days for them to give their newborn an official name so they took to calling him their little bear and the nickname stuck.

“Even his report cards come home with Bear on them,” Robert said. “Nobody calls him Sierra.”

Sierra is named after the mountain range and keeps with the family theme. Bear’s older sister is Everest Star.

Giving Back

As part of the athletes' Day 1 activities they worked with Special Olympic athletes to show them how to play lacrosse.

Athletes from both camps were jovial as players showed the Olympians how to scoop, throw and shoot.

“It was awesome. I’ve worked with Notre Dame School, which is a school for special needs in Dallas and I love coming out and teaching the kids how to do this stuff,” Dallas Jesuit goalie Daniel Morris said. “When I see them smile it puts a smile on my face.”


A first for the Warrior 40 was the selection of five players that participated in the event last year.

Wilkins Dismuke from Rock Canyon (Lone Tree, Colo.), Nick Fields from Bullis (Potomac, Md.), Danny Fowler from Chaminade (Mineola, N.Y.), Justin Guterding from Garden City (N.Y.) and Mac Pons from Boys’ Latin (Baltimore) are the first two-time selections in Warrior 40 history.

“I feel a little more like I belong this year,” Fowler said. “Last year I was the young kid coming up and I was still getting recruited. This year I can loosen up a little bit and just have fun.”

Being in the group of returnees, the players have been thrust into the role of advisor to the first-year athletes.

“A lot of the guys are asking me questions like ‘what’s next,’” Guterding said. “I just tell them to follow the schedule.”

Austin Shanks
Mike Loveday/ESPNHSAustin Shanks shows his Canadian pride by applying tape to his Warrior 40 lacrosse stick.
Rep Your Country

This year marks the first year the Warrior 40 became a multi-national event with the selection of two Canadian players to the roster: Jeremy Bosher from Norkam Senior (Kamloops, British Columbia) and Austin Shanks from Ontario.

Shanks is already committed to Michigan.

Both players realize the opportunity to represent their country and be counted among some of the best high school lacrosse players in North America.

“From where Canada was and where it is now we’re a lot more noticed now,” Shanks said. “Before we didn’t get many looks. Now coaches and scouts weigh it even with the U.S. now. It’s cool how far Canada’s come.”

“We’re not only representing ourselves, but part of Canada,” Bosher added. “It’s a huge honor. I know there’s a ton of guys back home that could be here.”

Shanks is made sure his country was represented during the game by using tape with the Canadian Maple Leaf on his stick.

Team Dojo wins Warrior 40; Dismuke MVP

August, 15, 2012
Wilkins DismukeAndrew Fielding/ESPNHSWilkins Dismuke earned his second Warrior 40 overall MVP award after scoring five goals in a 16-14 victory for Team Dojo.
RELATED LINKS: Warrior 40 Day 1 Photo Gallery | Warrior 40 Day 2 Photo Gallery | Warrior 40 Day 3 Photo Gallery

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- The streak is over.

Team Dojo (Blue) defeated Team Burn (Orange) 16-14 to win its first Warrior 40 final competition at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., Wednesday.

Wilkins Dismuke from Rock Canyon (Littleton, Colo.) was named the overall MVP for the second-straight year after scoring five goals, including four goals in the fourth quarter for Dojo.

“I was more nervous coming into this year then I was last year,” Dismuke said. “I felt like there was a little more pressure this year so it means a lot to win overall MVP. I didn’t want to come out and not play well this year after earning MVP last year.”

The Johns Hopkins commit scored his second and third goals to put DoJo up 13-11 in the fourth quarter then followed it up with two of the game’s final three goals to seal the victory.

Back and Forth

Three goals was the biggest lead for either team until the final few minutes.

Burn, which had won the previous two Warrior 40 final competitions, jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, but Dojo roared back with two goals and an assist by Jordan Evans from Jamesville-DeWitt (DeWitt, N.Y.) and the teams ended the first tied at 4-4. The first and second quarters ended with the teams tied.

Coronado (Las Vegas) rising senior Kieran Eissler scored with 2:41 remaining to push DoJo’s lead to 15-12. Dismuke’s fifth goal with 1:47 remaining pushed the lead to 16-12, but goals by Burn's Dylan Maltz and Tim Rotanz capped the final two goals of the contest.

Most Valuable

Rotanz from Shoreham-Wading River (Shoreham, N.Y.) finished the game with four goals and one assist for Burn and was named Offensive MVP.

“I didn’t expect it at all. I finished eating my sandwich during the (team) picture so I was obviously unprepared,” Rotanz said.

Daniel Morris from Dallas Jesuit (Dallas) earned the Defensive MVP award after recording nine saves in the first half for Burn.

“It means a lot to me. It really shows the growth of lacrosse across the U.S. and in Texas,” Morris said of two players from non-traditional hotbeds earning MVP honors. “It nice to show that we have some skills.”

Box Score

Dojo 16, Burn 14

Dojo Leaders

Goals: 5 Dismuke; 3 Justin Guterding, Garden City (N.Y.); Evans; 2 Eissler; 1 Tate Jozokos, Governor's Academy (Byfield, Mass.); Ryan Lukacovic, Chaminade (Mineola, N.Y.); Hayes McGinley, University School (Huntington Valley, Ohio). Assists: 2 Ian King, St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio): Ground Balls: 7 Steve Larson, Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.): Saves: 7 Jake Kennedy, Torrey Pines (San Diego, Calif.); 3 Danny Fowler, Chaminade (Mineola, N.Y.).

Burn Leaders

Goals: 4 Rotanz; 2 JT Blubaugh, St. Francis DeSales (Columbus, Ohio); Connor Cazzizzaro, Jamesville-DeWitt (DeWitt, N.Y.); Dylan Maltz, Stone Bridge (Ashburn, Va.); Matt Rambo, La Salle (Wyndmoor, Pa.); 1 Colin MacIlvennie, East Side Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.); Austin Shanks, Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.). Assists: 2 Connor Cannizzaro, Jamesville-DeWitt (DeWitt, N.Y.); Austin Shanks, Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.); Jake Woodring, Eden Prairie (Minn.); Ground Balls: 11 Brian Wegner, Regis Jesuit (Lone Tree, Colo.): Saves: 9 Morris; 7 Brian Balkam, Smithtown East (St. James).

Warrior 40 record goes down after Day 1

August, 14, 2012

RELATED LINKS: Warrior 40 Day 1 Photo Gallery | Warrior 40 Day 2 Photo Gallery | Warrior 40 Day 3 Photo Gallery

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Four athletes broke the 100 mph mark for the first time in event history as the Warrior 40 kicked off at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. on Tuesday.

Kieran Eissler from Coronado (Las Vegas) won the fastest shot skill competition with a 103 mph shot in the final to set a new Warrior 40 record.

“Paul Rabil is my idol and when I saw him break the world record I thought if I work hard in the weight room and practice every day I can do that too,” Eissler said. “I’ve been clocking my shot for a year now. I’ve been using weighted shafts and doing everything I can. About six months ago I was in the high 90s and my brother and I were working hard every day and it’s progressively gotten faster week by week. My goal is to hit 106 before the year ends.”

However, Eissler was not the first Warrior 40 athlete to break the century mark. JT Blubaugh from St. Francis DeSales (Columbus, Ohio) set the tone for the day when he laced a 100 mph shot on the third try to break the previous record of 99 mph set by Timothy Stackpole at the 2011 event.

La Salle (Wyndmoor, Pa.) rising senior Matt Rambo hit 102 and John-Jay (Cross River, N.Y.) defender Jack Lambert hit 101 to make it four players to make it into triple digits.

Rabil, of Major League Lacrosse’s Boston Cannons, set the World Record of 111 mph in 2010.

Better With Age

Nick Fields from Bullis (Potomac, Md.) is one of four returning Warrior 40 athletes. This year the rising senior won the agility competition with a time of 10.41 seconds.

The defender placed in the Top 10 as a sophomore last year, but held the top spot for the entire event this season.

“I knew how to cut and that’s a football thing and we’ve been doing drills for that all summer,” Fields said.

Jack Lambert from John-Jay (Cross River, N.Y.) placed second with a time of 10.65 while Bear Goldstein from St. Mark’s (Dallas) and Garret Van de Ven from Dallas Jesuit (Dallas) tied for third with a time of 10.78.

Mile High Impact

Known as the Mile High City, Denver is one mile above sea level and according to the Denver Convention and Visitors Bureau, even finely tuned athletes can feel the difference.

The post on the board’s High Altitude Tips webpage recommends that runners who normally run 10 miles a day opt for six instead, for example.

Ken Clausen was a four-time All-American at the University of Virginia and was drafted by the Denver Outlaws in 2010 and knows a little about the effects of the elevation change.

“I remember the first game I played with the Outlaws. I told the trainer I was going to die. I thought I was going to pass out,” Clausen said. “Even more than playing I remember going up the stairs to my apartment and having to stop and catch my breath.”

But after one day of skills and drills, the effects didn't seem to weigh on the minds of the athletes who are competing 10 miles outside of Denver.

“You can definitely feel it. It’s not too bad, but as you keep going harder and harder you can tell it’s harder to breathe.” Justin Guterding from Garden City (N.Y.) said. “We’re not too worried about it; this is all for fun and I don’t see one guy out here who hasn’t had a smile on his face all day.”

“I’ve noticed it’s not as humid as it is in Florida,” Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.) rising senior Devon Lewis said. “You don’t sweat as much out here as you do in Florida and I feel like I’m running better.”

The Warrior 40 athletes take the field at 10:40 a.m. Wednesday as part of the Warrior 40 final competition.

To get live updates, follow ESPNHS Lacrosse editor Mike Loveday on Twitter @ESPNMike in addition to @Warrior40Lax and #Warrior40.

2012 Warrior 40 teams announced

August, 13, 2012

Colorado lacrosse emerging as hotbed

August, 10, 2012
Wilkins Dismuke, Rock Canyon, Warrior 40Doug Austin/ESPNHSWilkins Dismuke from Rock Canyon (Littleton, Colo.) participated in the 2011 Warrior 40.

When you think of traditional lacrosse hotbeds, the usual suspects are grouped together in the mid-Atlantic region -- Virginia; Maryland; Long Island, N.Y.; etc.

But a new hot zone may be emerging out west. Colorado is producing elite players and fielding some of the best high school teams in the country, and the national spotlight will be shining on the region Aug. 13-15, when the Warrior 40 will be held in Commerce City, Colo.

The marquee event will provide an opportunity for Colorado to assert itself as a budding superpower, as the nation’s best players in the classes of 2013-14 compete.

The Rocky Mountain State will be well represented in the game, with three Colorado natives on the Warrior 40 roster.

Pete Aplet, a Wheat Ridge (Colo.) attackman in the Class of 2013, is part of the home-grown trio, as is Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.) defender Brian Wegner (2013).

The third member of the hometown group is Wilkins Dismuke, an attackman from Rock Canyon (Littleton, Colo.). He's ranked No. 17 in the ESPNHS Top 50 Juniors list, and he's no stranger to the Warrior 40 -- he scored three goals and won Offensive MVP honors at last year's event, which was held in Boston.

Dismuke is relishing the chance to perform closer to home this time around.

"The atmosphere at last year's game was great," Dismuke said, "but having it in my home state of Colorado is very exciting. It's going to be a lot of fun."

Dismuke thinks this could be an opportunity for Colorado to show how far it's come in the lacrosse world.

"Normally, kids back east look at Colorado and the west coast and think it's not up to the same level," Dismuke said. "But I think it's really coming on strong. The last couple years we've had a lot of kids going to Division I, and I think we already have eight or nine kids from my class who have committed to DI schools. The talent is there."

Colorado’s ascent isn’t limited to producing elite players. The level of competition in the region is getting better and better, with teams breaking into the national rankings. Arapahoe (Littleton, Colo.) went 19-0 en route to a state title in 2012 and finished the season ranked No. 33 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

And the state's recent surge may not be limited to the high school level. While Dismuke has committed to college powerhouse Johns Hopkins, Aplet and Wegner are staying close to home, as both have pledged to Denver.

Freedom wins boys' All-American showcase

July, 28, 2012
Team FreedomTim CaseyTeam Freedom won the title at the boys' lacrosse Champion All-American Showcase at the ESPNHS Games in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
RELATED: Freedom wins girls' Champion All-American Showcase

Jake Froccaro from Port Washington (N.Y.) scored five goals and won 10 of 13 faceoffs to help lead Team Freedom to an 11-9 victory over Team Spirit on Friday in the championship game of the 2012 Champion All-American Showcase, a US Lacrosse Event championship as part of the ESPNHS Games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Froccaro scored three goals and tallied an assist in the fourth quarter to lead a come-from-behind victory that saw Freedom erase a 7-6 deficit.

Team Spirit was led in scoring by Spartanburg (S.C.) attacker John Blackman, who scored three goals in the championship game and totaled 12 for the tournament.

Froccaro and Blackman led all scorers over the course of the three days with 15 and 12 goals, respectively.

In the consolation game, Dan Muller from Massapequa (N.Y.) scored 36 seconds into the first overtime to lift Team Liberty to a 10-9 victory over Team Pride. Liberty goalie Kris Alleyne from Clarkstown South (West Nyack, N.Y.) held Pride scoreless for the fourth quarter and overtime and made seven saves.

Brendan Caputo from Chaminade (Mineola, N.Y.) and Sam Becker from Hill-Murray (Maplewood, Minn.) each scored two goals for Pride.

At the conclusion of the tournament each team named MVP and sportsmanship award recipients:

Team Freedom: Sportsmanship: Scott Davis, St. Thomas Aquinas (Overland Park, Kan.); MVP: Froccaro.

Team Spirit: Sportsmanship: Chandler Kirby, Corning (N.Y.); MVP: Tanner Scales, Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.).

Team Liberty: Sportsmanship: Alexander Spring, Western Reserve Academy (Columbus, Ohio); MVP: Jibran Ahmad, Hackley School (Tarrytown, N.Y.).

Team Pride: Sportsmanship: Caputo; MVP: Ray Mastroianni, Bridgewater-Raritan (Bridgewater Township, N.J.).

Freedom wins girls' All-American Showcase

July, 25, 2012
Team FreedomTim Casey/ESPNHSTeam Freedom used a strong second half to win the girls' Champion All-American Showcase final at the ESPNHS Games in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Chelsey Sidaras from William Floyd (Mastic Beach, N.Y.) recorded seven saves in the second half to help lead Team Freedom to a 16-13 win over Team Liberty on Tuesday in the championship game of the 2012 Champion All-American Showcase, a US Lacrosse event as part of the ESPNHS Games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Eleven different players scored goals for Freedom, led by Tyler Thomas from Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.) who totaled three goals and an assist in the win.

Lydia Cassada from Milton (Ga.), McKenzie Hunt from Thayer Academy (Sudbury, Mass.), Hannah Landgrave from DuPont Manual (Louisville, Ky.) and Emma Lazaroff from Fairview (Lafayette, Colo.) each scored two goals to pace the scoring for Team Liberty.

In the bronze medal game, Spirit picked up its first win of the tournament, by defeating Team Pride 20-16. Kelsey Murray (six goals, two assists), Michaela Michael (five, two) and Dene DiMartino (four, two) combined for 21 points.

At the conclusion of the tournament each team named MVP and sportsmanship award recipients:

Team Freedom: Sportsmanship Award: Margaret Auslander, Green Hope (Cary, N.C.); MVP: Aislinn Probst, Broadneck (Annapolis, Md.).

Team Liberty: Sportsmanship Award: Alison Scharkey, Esperanza (Yorba Linda, Calif.); MVP: Lazaroff.

Team Pride: Sportsmanship Award: Amanda Johansen, North Shore (Glen Head, N.Y.); MVP: Cortney Fortunato, Northport (N.Y.).

Team Spirit: Sportsmanship Award: Kristina Coppolino, Winter Springs (Fla.); MVP: Michaela Michael, Menlo (Burlingame, Calif.)

Warrior Lacrosse All-Americans

July, 18, 2012
Nick Fields, WarriorDoug Austin/ESPNHSHeaded off to Johns Hopkins Nick Fields of Bullis (Potomac, Md.) made the Warrior Lacrosse All-America second team.
ESPNHS releases its selections for the Warrior Lacrosse All-Americans.

Criteria for inclusion in the Warrior Lacrosse All-American boys' team includes, but not limited to: being named a Player of the Year, first team all-league or US Lacrosse All-American. College recruiting status also plays a role in the selection process.

Eleven players each were named to the first team with 12 players earning second team honors. The breakdown consisted of three attackers, midfielders, defenders and one goalie. One spot is considered open on first team while two were open on the second team and awarded to the best possible player, regardless of position.

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High school flashback with Paul Rabil

July, 12, 2012
Paul RabilVaughn WinchellPaul Rabil discusses what his life was like as a student at DeMatha Catholic (Md.) from 2003-2005 in the second part of a six-part series.
Paul Rabil plays Major League Lacrosse with the Boston Cannons, but eight years ago he was a high school senior preparing for graduation.

During his three years at DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), Rabil led the lacrosse team to three Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Championships and totaled 288 career points.

The two-time lacrosse All-American spoke with ESPNHS about his days at DeMatha in the second of a six-part series leading up to the 2012 Warrior 40. Read the first installment here.

The Warrior 40, which takes place Aug. 13-15 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., is a three-day competition that features the nation's top underclass high school lacrosse players.

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Q&A with Paul Rabil from W40 athletes

July, 5, 2012
Paul RabilVaughn WinchellPaul Rabil answers some questions from the Warrior 40 athletes in the first of a six part series.
Paul Rabil of Major League Lacrosse's Boston Cannons is asked a lot of questions on a daily basis. Maybe the most asked is “can I have your autograph,” which the MLL MVP is more than happy to provide.

But as the first in a six part series featuring Rabil, the two-time NCAA champion answers questions that participants in the 2012 Warrior 40 want to know about the star.

Over the next six weeks ESPNHS will showcase Rabil as a lead in to the Warrior 40, which takes place Aug. 13-15 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.

ESPNHS: In a recent article, you stated that you're never satisfied. How do you keep all things in perspective if you're never satisfied?
Paul Rabil: “When I say I’m never satisfied it means I want to continue to win. You hate losing and losing sets a fire in you to go out, play better and win. For me when I win the next thing is to win again. When you win a championship after you’re done celebrating it feels so good you want to do it again.

ESPNHS: How did the excitement and pressure of playing in the final four or the national championship affect you and how did you stay focused while you were there?
PR: “That’s a difficult questions because I think it’s something that comes sort of natural or I attribute it to coach Dave Pietramala [Rabil’s coach at Johns Hopkins] and our practice and preparation before that game. You get so excited, but once you walk on the field you tone everything out. When you’re in the game it felt no different than playing on Homewood Field or right down the street on the park.”

ESPNHS: What advice or words of wisdom would you give to future D-I lacrosse players before they leave for college?
PR: “Focus on yourself and set goals for what you want to do at the school you’re going to. Watch film on guys that you want to play like or aspire to be. That’s what I did when I was in high school -- I watched a lot of the college All-Americans and pro players and tried to adapt to their game.”

ESPNHS: What type of work did you put in as a kid that got you to where you are today?
PR: “Tons of wall ball, tons of shooting. I get on the wall five hundred times a day and I shoot 100 to 200 shots a day.”

ESPNHS: What is the biggest transition from high school to college?
PR: “The speed of the game and the way it’s played. In high school you can get away with sheer athleticism and pace and endurance. In the college game when you’re tired you don’t have room to be tired. Everyone that’s on the field and in practice is always going 110 percent.”

ESPNHS: Who is the toughest defenseman you have ever gone against and why?
PR: “There’s been several for different reasons, but the best all-around defenseman I’ve gone against is Brodie Merrill. He can defend well, but he’s also such a threat when the balls on the ground and on the clear. He gets up the field as a long pole, right after a shot on the clear that makes me go back and defend. He’s forcing the offensive players do things that we’re not used to in different situations. That’s what makes him great.”

CT teen embraces new position after cancer

June, 15, 2012
Cameron GreenwoodJesse NeiderCameron Greenwood was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer in 2010. Now 14, can't run the way he used to. So for lacrosse, he was forced to embrace a new position: goalie.
BURLINGTON, Conn. -- Cameron Greenwood’s scar starts in the middle of his back. It arches upward, climbing away from his waistline before plummeting back down like the beginning of a cursive “M.”

It forks at his hip -- one half continuing 10 inches down his right leg, the other splitting left toward his groin.

A 10-hour surgery, 90 minutes of which was spent sewing Cameron back up, took one-third of his pelvis and removed a malignant tumor from his right hip. An athlete all his life, Cameron, then 12 years old, was never further from the lacrosse or soccer field than when he lay in a hospital bed on May 28, 2010. He absorbed cancer’s best shot.

But that low point marked the beginning of Cameron’s ascent. He coined “Kickin’ it Together” as the phrase for his comeback attempt. Making it back on the field would be the only definition of success for his story.

Step for step, his drive was matched by overwhelming compassion from family, friends and strangers. He was embraced by the college lacrosse community and was pushed by the very athletes living his ultimate dream.

“We started getting too many cards to fit on the walls anymore,” Cameron said.

His mother, Danielle Greenwood, wondered if he could possibly fail with so many people watching.

The right side of Cameron’s body resembled football laces. Danielle asked the surgeon, Eric Silverstein, how many stitches it took to put her son back together.

Silverstein told her the number would be better measured in boxes of stitches.

“I can’t even tell you how many intravenous lines were sticking out of him,” Danielle said.

They were the product of Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer most often found in older children and young teens that accounts for just 1 percent of all childhood cancers.

A stabbing pain that radiated from Cameron’s right hip and spread down his leg in fall 2009 prompted multiple trips to a chiropractor and a slew of sleepless nights. What was originally thought to be a crack in the growth plate at the top of Cameron’s femur was actually a tumor.

“At first I thought they were kidding,” Cameron said, recalling the day in January 2010 when his parents told him. “Then I just spazzed. I had no idea what to do. I asked them if I was going to die.”

Cameron Greenwood
Jesse NeiderCameron's last chemotherapy cycle was in October 2010, and when he completed a final two-week blast of radiation the next month, Cameron officially had beaten cancer.
Cameron’s oncologist and surgeon warned his parents not to read too much into descriptions of Ewing’s sarcoma on the Internet because they shouldn’t think that everything they would read would apply to Cameron. The doctors said that he would need to relearn to walk, and if the tumor engulfed too much of his pelvis, amputation might be necessary.

“It scares the s--- out of you,” said Scott Greenwood, Cameron’s father.

Cameron underwent six rounds of chemotherapy before the surgery. Over and over the Greenwoods checked into the “time share,” as Cameron called it, at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford.

The rooms differed, but the routine was the same. Each one was decorated with posters, cards and gifts. And each one was filled with visitors -- especially athletes.

Zach Frank, then a goalkeeper on the Sacred Heart men’s lacrosse team, heard about Cameron through a Facebook message from the daughter of Cameron’s school nurse. He immediately contacted his coach, Tom Mariano, and Cameron became an adopted member of the team.

Cameron and Frank became friends, with Frank bringing his teammates to visit at least once a week. At times there weren’t enough seats in the car. Tom Whitfield, then a sophomore attack, rode in the trunk just to see Cameron.

“I didn’t know Sacred Heart -- I didn’t even know it was a school,” Cameron said. “But these guys are doing what I really want to do. I was just really, really happy.”

In addition to Sacred Heart, men’s lacrosse teams at Hartford and Massachusetts also adopted Cameron. Memorabilia poured in from around the country. His bedroom contains a signed Duke lacrosse helmet from the school’s first national championship in 2010, a signed North Carolina jersey, Hartford lacrosse gloves and countless other keepsakes.

On March 6, 2010, Cameron and his father were in the locker room before Sacred Heart’s game against Manhattan. The team added helmet stickers with Cameron’s name and number. Cameron donned his own SHU jersey.

“We’re in the locker room trying to prepare to be all bad-ass, and we have eye black on and we’re screaming,” Frank said. “Then a little kid comes into the room with his dad, wearing one of our jerseys, and you kind of just want to melt.”

One half-inch.

That’s how close Cameron came to losing his right leg. Had the tumor spread to the sacroiliac joint, where the spine meets the pelvis, too much of his pelvis would have been removed for his leg to have a place to sit.

Instead, the surgery was a success. Cameron painstakingly learned to walk again while undergoing eight more rounds of chemotherapy. Less than six months after surgery, he walked a 5K -- sprinting the last 15 yards -- with 35 of his Sacred Heart lacrosse teammates by his side.

The last chemotherapy cycle was in October 2010, and when he completed a final two-week blast of radiation the next month, Cameron officially had beaten cancer.

By the next fall, Cameron was a freshman forward on the Lewis S. Mills junior varsity soccer team. He was finally reunited on the field with the same group of friends for whom he had played goalie in the final minutes of a state cup game in the middle of chemotherapy. They had shielded him like gladiators, ensuring that no opponent would go anywhere near him. The ball never even crossed midfield.

“We’ve been playing with each other for years,” said Chris Marcoux, a teammate of Cameron’s. “We were a family.”

Cameron, now 14, can’t run the way he used to. His right leg won’t let him. So for lacrosse, he was forced to embrace a new position: goalie.

He broke his hand in April when a shot slammed into it. Two weeks later, he was back on the field with a slip-on plastic brace that fits under his goalie gloves.

“I wish we had 40 kids that have the commitment that Cam has,” said Mike Baden, Cameron’s junior varsity lacrosse coach.

As he retells parts of his story, Cameron breaks down into tears. He has experienced more than any of his friends. He’s conquered more than most adults.

An X-ray of what remains of Cameron’s hip hangs in Mariano’s office at Sacred Heart. He’s one of the dozens of people for whom Cameron is a role model and an inspiration.

Cameron’s toughness and their love got him back on the field. They kicked it together.

Around the Crease: June 14, 2012

June, 14, 2012
Carmel, Allie CoonsCourtesy Karen Coons/ESPNHSThe Coons family helped lead the Carmel boys' and girls' lacrosse teams to 2012 championships. From left to right: coach Tom Coons, Allie Coons, Karen Coons and Josh Coons.
ESPNHS continues its weekly feature, Around the Crease, which takes a look at players, teams and high school lacrosse news from around the country.

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Linganore (Md.) junior chooses UMBC

June, 13, 2012
Linganore (Frederick, Md.) junior midfielder Lindsay Lawrence has verbally committed to play women’s lacrosse for UMBC.

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Boys' Region Players of the Week

June, 13, 2012
Each week during the 2012 season, ESPNHS Lacrosse will select a player from each of four regions as Player of the Week.

To submit a player for consideration fill out our submission form here. Please be sure to provide the player’s entire week's worth of performances. Athletes can earn Player of the Week honors just once during the 2012 regular season.

The following players are for the week of June 3-9.

The Southeast and West seasons are complete.

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Tom's Top 20: Lax Inception

June, 12, 2012

BEL AIR, Md. -- The summer recruiting circuit is here and to kick it off Lax Inception took place here on June 9-10.

Event organizers invited the top talent from all over the country, ranging from 2013 to 2016 graduating classes, to kickoff the summer.

Coaches from every collegiate level attended the event in hopes to finding the next big star for their programs.

Here is my Top 20 from Day One of Lax Inception.

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