LAKE PLACID - As the only juniors from the area who competed this week in the 24th annual Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tournament, players from the Ti-Lakes were looking to show that they could hold their own against some of the best young talent that can be found in the game. And at the same time, the local laxers were looking to have fun.
On both fronts, it was mission accomplished.
Competing in the scholastic under-18 boys silver division, the team, comprised of players from Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, the North Country and beyond, wrapped up action with a three-game win streak and a 3-2 overall record. After beginning the tournament with two losses Monday, Tri-Lakes won both its games Tuesday and finished Wednesday morning with a 7-6 win over Niners Select. In that game, Tri-Lakes rallied from a 5-0 deficit in the second half and then broke a 6-6 deadlock with the final goal of the game to claim the victory.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
Dan Marcelle, who attends Troy-LaSalle High School, spins out of a faceoff with the ball during scholastic action Tuesday in the 24th annual Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tournament. Marcelle is one of a handful of players from out of the area who competed on the Tri-Lakes under-18 team in the event. Marcelle and his teammates finished with a 3-2 record in the event.
"Our goal is to do better than we did last year." attack player Jeff Stevens said on Tuesday after his team won its first game. "We want to show we are competitive. Judging by the way we started playing today, I think we are going to do better than we have in the past."
Stevens, who will be a senior at Saranac Lake High School this fall, and the rest of his teammates got their wish. A year ago, Tri-Lakes played one game less and finished even at 2-2.
The team is coached by Lake Placid's Chris Grant and Jay's Tom Goodnough, who son John played on the squad.
"All the kids on this team are local kids, and it's a great situation for a lot of these kids," coach Goodnough said. "Many of them are working at this tournament and playing in it. It's a double whammy. It's a win-win deal for the kids."
With the exception of this week's tournament, which showcases some of the best players in the world, Lake Placid and the Adirondacks isn't normally a hot-bed for lacrosse. Goodnough said, however, the Tri-Lakes players want to display their abilities on the field. He added that tournament director George Leveille has the same mindset.
"George wants to see the local guys be successful, and he's helped us in that regard," Goodnough said. "He's been rooting for us for sure. He even helped find us a couple more kids to round out the roster."
"We're here for the spirit of lacrosse," said long-pole player James Murnane, who will also be a senior this year at Saranac Lake. "I've been playing for the Tri-Lakes for so long; since I was a little kid. It's pretty fun to represent the Tri-Lakes in a tournament like this. It's a blast."
Killian Ryan, a defender who will be in 11th grade at Saranac Lake, said he likes the fact one of the biggest lacrosse tournaments in the world is held each year in his own backyard.
"We are here because we love lacrosse," Ryan said on Tuesday. "it's great because we can wake up at home and just drive right over to the fields. On Monday, we really didn't have it together. I think we were getting the feel of playing with each other, but today, I think we are really synching up. We're playing much better."
Goodnough said for all the juniors in the tournament, including his local squad, the Summit event can also be quite a learning experience.
"I think the kids love the fact that they are in a tournament that includes some great, great players," he said. "The great players here, they'll stop to help anybody. The nice thing about lacrosse is it's accessible. Everybody is willing to lend a hand and help grow the sport."
Like the rest of his teammates, Saranac Lake's Jacob Merrill was in lacrosse heaven for a few days this week.
"It's amazing," said Merrill, who is expected to take over as the starting goalie for Saranac Lake's lacrosse team next spring. "The view here is crazy, and there are just so many people playing lacrosse. It's fun to be a part of it."