Wildcats Conquer Scorching Sun and Hackley to Win First NYSAIS State Title

The Rye Country Day boys’ lacrosse team overcame both an early deficit and oppressive heat to win the State championship May 26 at Randall’s Island. With the temperature dialed up close to 100 degrees – nearly toppling a 130-year-old NYC record – the Wildcats defeated Hackley 10-7 in the sport’s inaugural NYSAIS tournament.

The 2010 NYSAIS State champions

“It feels great to finish my final season with these guys and coaches,” said Jack Mandy, a captain and one of 12 seniors. “It’s awesome to accomplish something together at the end of the year. I couldn’t wish for better people to share this moment with.”

While Hackley came flying out of the gate – they scored two goals in the first 2:14 of the game – their run-and-gun offense was not designed for the humid conditions. Rye Country Day, on the other hand, preached a patient, ball-control offense that paid off. They reeled off three straight goals in less than two minutes before allowing another at the end of the first quarter. The Hornets stung once more five seconds into the quarter, but – under the pressure of a snarling Wildcat defense and simmering sun – failed to connect again for nearly 20 minutes.

“The heat was close to unbearable,” said senior captain Harry Razook. “The coaches told us to try and forget about the heat and just play our game, but at some points that was just impossible. The turf exacerbated the heat as well. Our senior defenseman, Jake Sternberg, said, ‘my cleats are going to melt,’ during the game.”

Harry Razook

As Hackley wilted, the Wildcats thrived with Manhattan’s skyline in the background and the industrial soundtrack of the Bruckner Expressway playing throughout. Razook and fellow senior captain Chris Seter chipped in classic performances in the final games of their storied careers. Razook was the passing wizard in dishing four assists along with a goal; Seter – the mirror image – pinballed his way to four goals and an assist. The two hooked up for the final time late in the third, as Razook passed to Seter, who did a 360-degree spin by the left pipe to free himself for the score. The goal broke a 6-6 tie and gave Rye Country Day back the momentum after allowing two in 21 seconds.

For his career, Seter finished with 124 goals, 46 assists, and high praise from his head coach.

Chris Seter

“I can’t say enough about Seter,” said Matt Rosolen. “He plays the game the right way and does so many things, big and small, for us on the field. My favorite part of watching him play is the level of effort that he puts into everything he does. He doesn’t get tired on the field and never gives up. While he may not be the most talented player in Westchester, I wouldn’t trade him for any other player. His heart and determination can’t be topped.”

Hackley mustered another goal after Rye Country Day went ahead, connecting with 1:03 remaining in the third to tie the score at 7-7. It would be their last, and it didn’t take long for the Wildcats to counter.

With 31 seconds left in the penultimate quarter, RCDS ran a play they installed in practice the day before to combat Hackley’s vaunted defensive zone. Razook controlled behind goal in the “X”, while Mike Walsh charged the net head-on. Razook flicked a touch pass to Walsh, who easily scored the eventual game-winner thanks to his “off-ball” movement. It was one of 99 assists in Razook’s four-year career, but easily the most important.

“Harry is a great playmaker,” said goalkeeper Chandler Grinnell, also a senior captain. “He sets everything up on most plays and makes the tricky passes look easy. Harry was key on our offense all day and was able to score and draw men to set up plays like that one. Walsh did a great job finishing as he has all season.”

Chandler Grinnell and Jack Mandy

The Wildcats entered the fourth up 8-7 and from there it was all Grinnell and the defense, a unit that yielded just 5.3 goals per game in 2010. Grinnell made 10 saves in the championship, including three big ones in the fourth as he – along with, among others, Mandy, Joe Kaplan and Jon Karp – exterminated each and every one of the Hornets’ scoring opportunities.

“Chandler has been incredible,” said Mandy. “He is the quarterback of our defense and always tells us the right thing to do. We knew we could give up the outside shot because Chandler could stop it.”

After a Seter goal made it 9-7, senior Luke Stevens scored the backbreaker with 3:30 left. Stevens was just one of many contributors who had a say in the final outcome. Players like Pranav Seghal, Shayne Bingham and Marco Prouve were named by the captains as vital in the championship victory.

“The thing I will remember the most about the team and being a Wildcat is the overall cheerful and fun attitude of all the coaches and players,” said Razook, who finished with 116 career goals, of his 18-2 team. “Having eleven close seniors also made each second on the lacrosse field enjoyable.”

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