Shortly after winning its second consecutive state Class A championship, the West Genesee girls lacrosse team returned home to a hero's welcome, complete with escorts and salutes from the Camillus police and fire departments.
A few hours later, when the West Genesee boys lacrosse team came home from its state Class a title conquest on Long Island, they got the same grand greeting.
All in all, June 14, 2008 was a glorious day to be a Wildcat. For the third time this decade, West Genesee is the proud home to both state Class A lacrosse champions, the feat having also been accomplished in 2002 and 2003.
It started with the boys Wildcats coming from behind to beat Syosset 11-7 in its title game at Hofstra University, and continued later that afternoon with the girls Wildcats staging its own rally to fight past Farmingdale 13-12 at SUNY-Cortland.
The numbers both programs have achieved is quite staggering. While WG's girls have earned back-to-back state titles, won 48 games in a row and have five overall state championships this decade, this marks the 15th time the boys Wildcats, under the direction of Hall of Fame coach Mike Messere, has gone to the summit.
For all those previous successes, though, what drove the WG boys this spring was the memory of losing back-to-back state finals to West Islip in 2006 and 2007. After a rough first half of the season, mainly caused by the long absence of star attackers Ryan Barber and Mike Fetterly, the Wildcats hit full gear once Barber and Fetterly returned in mid-May.
WG breezed to a seventh consecutive Section III Class A title, then worked hard in the state playoffs, needing a strong fourth quarter to shake off Vestal and a lot of perseverance down the stretch to edge Canandaigua 11-10 in last Thursday's state semifinal.