MERCER ISLAND, Wash. — An unprecedented eight Mercer Island High School lacrosse standouts in 2012 have committed to play the sport at NCAA schools following graduation.
For Mercer Island, the six boys and two girls that have committed to play at the NCAA level is a single-year high-water mark for any Washington state high school in the four-decade history of prep lacrosse play in the state.
Leading the way with an NCAA Division I commitment to play for 2012 men’s national champion Loyola of Maryland is Islander junior defenseman Chase York.
Following his upcoming junior and senior years as an Islander, York plans to enroll at Loyola for the 2014-15 academic year. He will join a Greyhounds squad that finished its 2012 ECAC schedule at 6-0 (18-1 overall) on the way to capturing the NCAA Men’s Division I championship with a 9– 3 win over the University of Maryland.
Last spring, York helped his MI team advance to the semifinals of the 2012 Washington Lacrosse State Championship Tournament. As a sophomore, he had three goals and 27 ground balls in 14 regular-season games with the Islanders.
Other Mercer Island boys to commit to Division I programs are junior midfielder Peter Mahony, who will enter Yale in the fall of 2014, while senior midfielder Hayden Reisman will enroll at St. Johns and senior attackman Grant Priesler will enroll at Marquette this coming fall.
Division III boys commitments include seniors Justin Rorem and Lorenzo Powell. Rorem, an attackman, will enroll at Kenyon College in Ohio while Powell, a midfielder, will enroll at Centre College in Kentucky.
On the girl’s side, senior midfielders Tyler Sherper and Saffron Snethen will play at the Division III level. Sherper has committed to play at New York’s Colgate University, while Snethen will play at North Carolina’s Mt. Olive College in the fall.
“Our program has been going this direction for the past decade,” said Mercer Island boys head coach Ian O’Hearn, whose Islanders have played in the Washington state boys championship game 10 times since 2001, while taking the title in five of those years.
Since beginning high school play in 1993, over 70 Mercer Island boys and girls have gone on to play either NCAA or club lacrosse at the collegiate level following graduation.
“We’ve been doing a better job of exposing our kids to the opportunity of playing with NCAA schools and giving them the exposure they need to be recognized at that level,” said O’Hearn who, despite his on-field success and the visibility that his student-athletes are getting this year, is still not convinced that he has the best boys team in the state for the upcoming spring season.
“A lot of teams in Washington state have this many kids that can play at the NCAA level,” said O’Hearn. “It’s just a matter of getting them exposure and their willingness to travel out of state to attend school.”
Among those that will play at the Division I level, Mahony will join a Yale midfield unit that helped the Bulldogs advance to the first round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Division I Tournament following a second-place Ivy League finish and a 4-2 conference record (11-5 overall).
As an Islander sophomore last spring, he scored 22 goals, tallied an assist and grabbed 54 ground balls in 14 regular-season games for MI.
Following graduation this spring, Reisman will step into a midfield role at St. Johns. In 2012, the Red Storm finished with a 3-3 BIG EAST Conference record (8-7 overall). As a junior last spring, Reisman finished the regular high school season in Washington state with 20 goals, six assists and 43 ground balls.
Marquette commit Priesler, who as an Islander senior this spring is expected to play a key role at attack, will join a Golden Eagles squad that is in its first year of NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse play on the Milwaukee, Wis. campus. Priesler finished the 2012 high school regular season at MI with 27 goals, 20 assists and a single ground ball.
Neither Rorem or Powell saw varsity action for the Islander boys in 2012.
For the girls, Sherper finished the regular season with 54 goals, 15 assists and 17 ground balls, while Snethen had 19 goals, five assists and 11 ground balls.
After winning the 2011 Washington Lacrosse State Championship, the Islander boys finished 14-6-0 during the 2012 regular season and 2-1-0 in the post season before falling to rival and eventual state champion Bellevue High School in the Division I semifinals.
The Islander girls won their conference in 2012 with a 9-3-1 record before falling to eventual state champion Bainbridge High School in the state semifinals. They have been to the state title game twice, winning the Division II crown in 2009.
Historically, over 100 student-athletes from Washington state high schools have gone on to play lacrosse at the NCAA level with another 100 playing for college clubs. A historical list of student-athletes from state high schools that have played at the collegiate level is available at http://www.washingtonhslax.com/media-center/local-collegians/
About High School Lacrosse in Washington State
Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the US and in Washington state has experienced double-digit annual growth throughout the past decade. With a 35-year local history, 157 individual boys and girls high school teams are available to students attending nearly 200 WIAA schools across eastern and western Washington. Governed by the Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association and the Washington Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association, the sport is played during the spring season and capped by annual boys and girls state championships in late May. To learn more about lacrosse in Washington or to receive daily high school results visit www.WashingtonHSLAX.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @WashingtonHSLAX. To learn more about the history, traditions and values of lacrosse, college opportunities available to students and the 21 US states now sanctioning high school lacrosse visit USLacrosse.org.
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~ Mike McQuaid, Sports Information Director, US Lacrosse – Washington State Chapter