Lacrosse has been one of the fastest-growing sports in high schools throughout the York-Adams area for the better part of a decade.
Because of improved talent, increased opportunities and fierce competition, more and more local athletes, both on the boys' and girls' sides, are earning NCAA Division I scholarships.
Dallastown's Addison Quinones is hoping to add his name to that ever-growing list. The Wildcat, who will be a senior this fall, took a big step toward that goal last month after earning a spot on the Pennsylvania team at the Brine National Lacrosse Classic in Boyds, Md.
While Quinones, a defender, and his teammates didn't fare too well, finishing with an 0-3-1 record, the process was deemed a clear positive for him.
"The experience of playing in this event was phenomenal," he said. "It gave me a chance to play on a team with some of the best lacrosse players in the state of Pennsylvania. Then it gave us a chance to compete against the best players in the country from other states."
Being named one of the state's top defenders certainly wasn't much of a surprise to Phillip Bates, his high school coach at Dallastown.
"I felt it was well-deserving that Addison made the Pennsylvania Brine Classic Team," Bates said. "He is one of best lacrosse players that central Pennsylvania has to offer. I have watched Addison grow as a lacrosse player since he was 12 years old. He progressed at much faster rate than your average player."
Earning a spot on the Pennsylvania team was a bit more complicated than having just a one-day tryout. Quinones first had to attend a regional tryout for central Pennsylvania. He did well enough at that tryout to make it to an East/West subgroup.
"After the first tryouts we all came together at Albright and played a tournament called the Pride of Pennsylvania, where each team played each other twice," he said. "Coaches evaluated the players during those games and, if you were one of the top performers, you were selected for the team."
Despite failing to record a single victory during the tournament, Quinones and his teammates could have easily flipped their record around had a few breaks gone their way.
"Our team didn't look so good when it came to our record because we finished 0-3-1," Quinones said. "However, in every single game we were up in the fourth quarter and for some reason we just couldn't hold them off and the other teams came back and beat us by one goal within the last minute play."
Perhaps the most heart-breaking sequence for the Pennsylvania team came in the first game against Connecticut.
"We were playing Connecticut and we were up by one goal late in the fourth quarter," he said. "And they ended up coming back and beating us by one within the last minute of play. But that's how most of our games seemed to go, unfortunately."
While the outcomes were no doubt disappointing, a lot of the lessons learned from the event should prove handy for Quinones down the road. One of the lessons he learned was the ability to quickly get in sync with teammates he never played with before.
"One thing I can take away is learning to play with a team literally on the first day that we met," he said. "There was really no time to get to know each other and most of us had never played with one another, so it was a good experience learning to play with a new team so quickly."
That can prove invaluable a year from now, when Quinones prepares for playing lacrosse at the next level. While highly recruited, the Wildcat standout's plans for college remain wide open.
"I have not made a commitment to a college or university yet," he said. "Also, I have not really narrowed down my choices. So, as of right now, the only thing I know for sure is that the college I will attend will be great academically."
While Quinones is still undecided about his future, Bates is pretty sure his standout defender has what it takes to play at the highest level.
"My personal opinion is he capable of playing at the D-1 level in college," Bates said. "Many of his club coaches and other coaches feel the same."
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.