By: Judy Salamone
Championships are nothing new to Ric Beardsley.
In 1992, Beardsley captained the USA U-19 lacrosse team to a World Championship.
In 1993 and again, in 1995, Beardsley, a four time All-American Defenseman at Syracuse University, led the Orange to National Titles.
And, on June 10 on the campus of St. John Fisher College in Rochester, Beardsley, now in his fifth season as head coach of the CBA boys lacrosse team, and the Brothers, captured the school’s first State Title in the sport, defeating Westlake 12-5.
Of all the championships that Beardsley has been a part of, this one stands above all of the rest.
“I have won a lot of games in my life as a player,” Beardsley shared. “This ranks up there with the National Championships and World Championship that I have for sure. But honestly, I would say this is more gratifying because others won this for you.”
Others, obviously, he’s talking about his players. His extended family. Or, what he often refers to as #2daughters35sons (Beardsley and his wife Tori, have two daughters, Angela and Viviana).
“Yes, this means something to me, but it means everything to them,“Beardsley said after the game. “Those are my 35 sons. To see the joy on their faces, their parents faces today. That’s all worth it to me. This is the greatest feeling on earth. To be a coach and see those young men love life and be happy, crying, loving. This is awesome.”
Awesome it was. The Brothers moved from Class C to the newly formed Class D this season. Big wins during the regular season included triumphs over Skaneateles twice and Westhill. The Brothers breezed through the first two rounds of Sectional play defeating Bishop Ludden and Lafayette, before facing Westhill in the Sectional Championship. It took a double-overtime thriller to defeat the Warriors this time, as the Brothers clinched their first Sectional lacrosse title in 10 years.
Beardsley said that he realized that he might have something special with this team following the win at Skaneateles.
“We just defeated Skaneateles for the second time at their place,” he said. “At the end of the game, there was a little scuffle. It ended quick, with no one in trouble, but it for some reason made the kids back each other up. On the bus ride home, they were singing and dancing to 80’s songs (of all things) and that was when we knew as a staff that we are poised for a season success. Again, it sounds crazy, but when your teammates see you are willing to fight for them, things get real.”
The State title run included wins over Chenango Forks (13-4); St. Lawrence (23-8); Akron (20-3) and culminated with the big prize at St. John Fisher.
“This was a win for not only the kids, but their families,” Beardsley said. “We always stress team; sounds cliché’ I know, but it is the truth,” he added. “We won and lost games together all season. When we won the Sectional title, the players really started to realize that we are winners, but what really changed was I saw how excited their families were when this happened. Even my own family was so excited. So we as a staff made sure the boys saw this. We told them don’t win for you, win for your family.”
When the Brothers got to the State Championship game, Beardsley and his staff wanted to make sure the boys could find their parents and loved ones in the stands in case they got nervous, so he got them bright lime green t-shirts. The t-shirt had a CBA crest with a Lion’s head on the front. On the back, it read “Family.” “We use the Lion as a metaphor for the team because we want to be the King of the Jungle, the top of the food chain, that’s the significance of the Lion Head for us.”
King of the Jungle for sure. The Brothers finished the season 18-5 and ranked No. 1 in the state.
Members of the team included: seniors Augustus Bonacci, Peyton Bowler, Alex Calkins, CJ Carbone, Doug DeMarche, Sam Lubinga, Michael Matheson, Ben McCreary, Lynch Raby, Matt Vavonese, Gabe Vinal, and Jace Whelan; juniors Joey Akl, Francis Cannizzo, Michael Catalano, Zachary Eber, Will Fallon, Malcolm Jackson, Lewes Kunda, Matt Ludington, Patrick O’Brien, Dan Polhemus and Eli Weiss; sophomores Michael Adornato, Matt Buck, Tommie Caputo, Ian Henderson, Joey Matheson, and Gregory Wells and freshmen Wyatt Auyer, Sam Bonacci, Colin Kelly, Ryan MacKenzie, ZJ Shahin and Preston Taylor.
“Steve Spurrier once said “Football is not about X’s and O’s, it’s still about Jim’s and Joe’s” and what that means is you can coach all you want but players play the games. And good players are still things that make you win games,” Beardsley remarked.
“On our team, we had eight seniors start for us. Those guys made it easy for us because they knew what was at stake. Would their senior years be a bust or a must? They chose the latter, and from day one of practice, it showed. I have known all of them for a long time and I know I speak for my entire staff in saying that we love all of our seniors, we love all of our kids very much.”
Pregame Prayer Brother Joseph Jozwiak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3I9l-JYg4Q&t=49s
Pregame Speech Ric Beardsley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsDFJXXRMyc&t=21s
Highlight Film (Varsity Media): https://vimeo.com/221440635?ref=em-v-share
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