Representing quite well

Local athletes making it big at college, pro level

A season with 61 goals, 22 assists and 42 forced turnovers was nice, but Cannizzaro saved her best stuff for Final Four weekend in Philadelphia, getting four straight goals in the semifinal to put away Northwestern, and then adding four goals and two assists in an epic title game that went five overtimes before the Tar Heels upended unbeaten Maryland.

For all that, Cannizzaro earned the Tewaaraton Trophy, given to the nation’s best player. Liverpool’s Mikey Meagher, a terrific goalie at Florida, was also a finalist, as was LaFayette’s Lyle Thompson on the men’s side after his sophomore season at Albany where he picked up 62 assists and 108 points.

It was quite a weekend for the Cannizzaro family, with Sean trying to put Denver in the NCAA men’s lacrosse final and coming up just short, and Connor, who is ironically going to Maryland, leading Cazenovia to another sectional title back home.

Propelled by a deep pool of local talent, especially Skaneateles’ Kevin Rice, Syracuse rallied past Denver in that national semifinal, only to succumb to Duke and bad face-offs. But Le Moyne did hang on for the NCAA Division II championship, again with local players everywhere on the roster.

When SU’s men’s basketball team made its way to the Final Four in Atlanta two months ago, two players from Jamesville-DeWitt – Brandon Triche in a starring role, Dajuan Coleman patiently waiting his turn – were at the forefront.

Somehow, all of this success is contagious. Even the hockey players feel it, as the Syracuse Crunch swept two AHL playoff series and is inching toward a possible Calder Cup, the first in the team’s two-decade existence. Apparently it’s working out with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Put it all together, and it’s immensely satisfying. When following the high school sports scene, you know that only a small percentage of these athletes will become college standouts, and only a handful, at best, will go even further.

So when they do make it big, regardless of what town you are from and what team you root for, there’s a reason to be proud, to know that an area not highly regarded for producing top athletes can do so on a regular basis, in many different sports.

If you get the chance, pay close attention to those state championships this week. If recent results are any indicator, the young men and women vying for scholastic glory right now have a real chance to do much more in the months and years ahead.

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