The state champions return to the field


The boys get their gear for the upcoming season.

Entering the spring season, every sport is adjusting back to its environment. The boys varsity lacrosse team is on its way back to full swing; the team is already putting in the work for another state title on the agenda. 

Welcoming back the boys, coach Andy Shira explains what is expected of the boys; he has big goals for this upcoming season. 

“Expectations stay pretty consistent from year to year. We talked about it on day one that the big things we need every single day, whether it’s practice or game, are: energy, effort, and being coachable. If you put the energy and effort in every day, we’ll get better every day. If you’re coachable, we can improve every day and adjust well during games. As far as performance on the field, every year, we set goals to be conference champs, regional champs, and state champions. That hasn’t changed this year, and I think we have a really good group of guys returning, as well as some young, new talent that can help us accomplish those goals.”

Goals are different between coach and player. Freshman Henry McNamara has set some personal goals for this lacrosse season. 

“I want to challenge myself a lot this season. I want to go up against the upperclassmen and play as if it is a game,” he said. “I want to learn from everything I do and everything everyone else does. Freshman year is a good year for me to learn from and observe the older guys to better understand their experiences and expectations. I want to learn who my opponents are and the level they’re on.”

As practices and other activities begin, the excitement starts to roll. There are many things for the boys to be excited about this year. After all, they are returning to an environment and team that pulled through and secured a state championship. 

“I’m super excited to get back to playing lacrosse with this team and creating new bonds as the season progresses,” told senior Crandall Quinn. 

Crandall has big plans for this season; he aspires for the team to do the impossible once more. 

“My biggest goal for the team is another state championship. I want us to make history again, just like last year.” 

But with this big dream, a lot of work must be completed. The boys must get in the game and work their hearts out. Coach Shira has plenty of things he wishes to build on, but also plenty of things he is proud of the team for doing. 

“This year, we want to improve on being the dictator. We want to make teams adjust to us offensively, defensively, and in transition. We want to set the tone offensively by sharing the ball and making the extra looks when we have them. I think we’re way ahead of where we were last year at week 1, and we’re doing some things we weren’t doing until the very end of the season last year, which is very encouraging that those things are being sustained. Defensively we want to be aggressive and pressure opposing offenses into feeling uncomfortable with the ball, cause turnovers, and communicate. Communication is so key, and people overlook it. Something my coach always told us that’s stuck with me is that it’s okay to be on the wrong page as long as we’re all on the same page,” he explained. 

All in all, the boys must come together and form an unstoppable force on and off the field. Freshman Parker Udy expressed his ideas for a close-knit team. 

“I think the better the bond everyone has, the better everyone will play. In my opinion, the best thing to bring us all together is spending time with one another. Practicing and competing with each other brings us close to each other, but I think that extra time and work will really pull us all together.”

Many boys graduated, and many new freshmen joined the team. With some holes in the roster, what is to come for the team is unexpected, but coach Shira has high hopes for the future. 

“The entire staff is back from last season, so there will be some extra familiarity between players and coaches this year. We know how kids respond, and the kids know what our expectations are. There’s not an adjustment period like there might be if we had a new staff. Crandall Quinn, Sam Sneider, Jonah McConnell, Nolan Hartl, Luke Wedder, Graham Bennett, and a handful of others are all back this year, and they will be leaning heavily to lead this team. I believe some of the best teams are teams that are player led and hold each other accountable. I think we have a really core group of experienced guys that will be great leaders for us both on and off the field.”

The future looks bright for the boys; the team is ready and healthy, and the guys are determined to attain another state title. With the momentum from the previous year and their energy now, the boys are bound to be successful.

The team will kick off its season against Grand Ledge High School this Wednesday, March 22. The face-off will be at 6:00 p.m. in our own Ranger Stadium. Best of luck this season, boys!