In his second season at the helm of his alma mater, Lees-McRae College Head Men's Lacrosse Coach Mat Edmunds '02 announced today that 25 student-athletes will join the College's lacrosse team after officially opening fall practice last week.
The newest Bobcats, the largest recruiting class in program history, hail from all over the United States, as well as a pair from Canada. North Carolina, Georgia, Minnesota, Colorado, Virginia, Kentucky, Arizona, Maryland, New York, New Hampshire, and Michigan, are all represented in this year's class, as well as provinces Alberta and Saskatchewan. By position, the group consists of 3 goalies, 5 defenseman, 11 midfielders, and 6 attackman. "Our coaching staff is thrilled about this year's addition to the Bobcat lacrosse family," stated Edmunds. "They are a great bunch of lads who are ready and willing to push this program academically and athletically to the next level."
In goal, Shane Sheppard joins the Bobcats out of St. Francis High School. In addition to playing for St. Francis, the Alpharetta, GA native also suited up for the Atlanta Blackhawks club team. Jonathan Waddell (Burlington, NC) comes to Lees-McRae from Western Alamance High School. Waddell earned 2nd team all state honors in his senior year. Ireland Murphy (Prospect, KY) rounds out this year's class of goalies. Murphy started between the pipes for Ballard High School in his junior and senior season, earning 1st team All State honors each season. As a senior, Murphy led his team to the state final.
At defense, a good mix of size and athleticism compile the Class of 2010. Standing 6'1" and weighing 175 pounds, Sean Garrity (Phoenix, AZ) comes to Lees-McRae after playing for Brophy Prep School. In his junior year he was selected to play for Team Arizona at the prestigious Sonoma Shootout, coming home with a Championship. During his senior season, Garrity was named 1st team All State as well as an Arizona All-Star. Garrity also earned team MVP honors in 2005 and acted as a team captain in 2006. Matt Ciotti joins the Bobcats out of Charlotte, NC. At 5'11", 180 pounds, Ciotti was a two year starter at Charlotte Catholic High School, winning the State Championship in his junior year. As a senior, Ciotti was named as a team captain, and led the team to the State Semi-Final. At season's end, Ciotti was named to the Queen City Top 50 All-Star Game. Andrew Sestito (Stafford, VA), 5'11", 181 pounds, comes to Banner Elk from Brooke Point High School after being named 1st Team All District and 1st Team All Region in the central Virginia area in his junior and senior seasons. Sestito was also a standout football player for Brooke Point.
The final two defenders in this year's class both come via transfer. Rory Murphy (Walton, NY) comes to Lees-McRae from SUNY Delhi, where he was named Team MVP in 2005. Erik Pikel (Virginia Beach, VA) transfers to Lees-McRae from Division III New England College after playing one season of lacrosse and hockey at New England.
The midfield unit is comprised of five North Carolina natives, a pair of Minnesotans, a pair of Canucks as well as one each from New Hampshire and Virginia. Dane Robinson (Charlotte, NC) joins high school teammate Ciotti after being named South Charlotte Weekly 2006 Elite Honorable Mention. Robinson was part of Catholic's State Champion lacrosse team in 2005, and won another State Championship as an all conference swimmer that same year. Zack Smith (Hendersonville, NC) comes to the Bobcats after a two year varsity career at Hendersonville High while a trio of Cary, NC natives join Robinson and Smith as freshman midfielders from Lees-McRae's home state. Forrest MacConnell earned 1st Team All Conference honors in both lacrosse and football in his senior year at Cary High. MacConnell's high school teammates Zack Cockerham, a team captain at Cary, and Tanner Millis, a three time academic all conference, will also join the Bobcats.
From the frozen tundra of Minnesota, Brandon Gilseth (Maple Grove, MN) and Kyle Ficken (Brooklyn Park, MN) come to the Bobcats from Osseo High School. As a junior, Gilseth earned all conference and all state honorable mention before being named academic all state as a senior. Ficken also earned all state honors, being named to the 3rd team in his senior year. Ficken was also named to the all conference team all four years at Osseo while also playing for the Minnesota Elite travel team. Ficken also excelled on the ice earning Team MVP honors as a senior on Osseo's hockey team. The pair led Osseo to the State Final in 2006.
All the way from the Great White North, David Herman and Landon Young make their way to the mountains to begin the collegiate lacrosse careers. From St. Francis Xavier High School in Edmonton, Alberta, Herman played for National Lacrosse Leaguer Jamey Bowen prior to coming to Lees-McRae. In 2005, Herman competed in the U19 Canadian National Championships, also known as the First Nations Cup, for Provincial Champion Edmonton. Hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Young has spent the past two seasons starting for the Saskatoon Scorpions U19 team. After competing in the First Nations Cup in 2005, Young and his teammates returned to the U19 Nationals in '06, losing in National Championship game. Tripp Adams makes his way to Lees-McRae all the way from Brussels, Belgium. After growing up in Virginia, Adams and his family have spent the past six years overseas. Adams returned to the United States prior to arriving at Lees-McRae and now calls Denver, CO home. Michael LaSalle rounds out the newest midfielders on the Bobcats lacrosse team. The Londonderry, NH native played his high school lacrosse for Londonderry High School.
At the offensive end of the field, Matt Markey (Burlington, NC) joins his high school teammate Waddell at Lees-McRae. Markey earned 1st Team All State honors as a senior. Brett Schwarzlose comes south from Novi, MI. Schwarzlose lettered at Detroit Catholic Central, and also played for Team Champion, a travel team that participated in the World Lacrosse Festival held this past summer in London, Ontario. Forrest Dorsey (Parker, CO) played his high school lacrosse at Chaparral High School. Dorsey was named honorable mention all conference and All State in his senior year. The second Georgia native in this year's class, Jack Pearl, earned Offensive Player of the Year honors twice playing for his hometown Savannah Lacrosse Club. The 6'5", 215 pound attackman also suited up for touring tournament squad Team Palmetto. Brandon Marks (Durham, NC) remains in his home state for his collegiate career after starting his senior year for the Durham Falcons. The only Maryland native in the newest group of Bobcats, Jason Grau earned three letters in lacrosse at Glenelg High School. Grau was a member of Glenelg's County and Regional Championship team in 2005. Glenelg bowed out of the State tournament in the semi finals that season.
The Bobcats will head north October 7th to play in the Colonial Fall Ball Tournament at Robert Morris University.