Roadhawks take to the road

CNY lacrosse team to participate in Dick's Sporting Goods Tournament of Champions

Members of the Central New York Roadhawks Lacrosse Club will have an important opportunity next week.

The lacrosse teams, which attract athletes from all over the state, will be going to the Dick's Sporting Goods Tournament of Champions just outside Tampa, Fla., from Jan. 4 to 6. And they're competing for more than just a shiny, six-foot-tall trophy.

"They're competing for pride," said Mike Stagnitta, who runs the league. "They're competing for a chance to show that Central New York is still at the top of the heap as far as lacrosse. I don't know that a lot of them grasp that."

Stagnitta said the CNY Roadhawks' organization exists as a way to cultivate local talent and give them exposure to college coaches looking nationwide for athletes who play the burgeoning sport.

"We're here to teach them the brotherhood of lacrosse, as well as to help them develop skills that will help them get to the next level," Stagnitta said.

The league has attracted some top-notch players from all over New York, from as far north as Watertown and as far south as the Pennsylvania border. Several of its graduating seniors will soon be going on to play at top Division I, II and III schools, including Liverpool High School's Bryan Clegg, who recently signed a letter of intent to play at Syracuse University.

College exposure on and off the field

That's the primary goal of the CNY Roadhawks -- to give talented local players not only the necessary skills to play at the college level, but also exposure to college coaches and recruiters.

"There's a phenomenal amount of talent out there," Stagnitta said. "The sport has exploded, meaning that the pool of players is larger than ever but the number of college teams is the same. The coaches and recruiters might not see the most talented players that we have here in Central New York, so the Roadhawks give them that exposure."

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