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Horizon

The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

Horizon

The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

Horizon

Middle Schoolers in the Big Leagues: Girls’ Varsity Lax Pulls up Four Middle Schoolers

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Sean Strohofer
Arianna Lanzello (South Middle School)

One of the greatest honors of a young student athlete’s career is finally receiving a varsity letter. For most, an athlete will receive this his/her junior year, as varsity teams are typically composed of upperclassmen. This milestone can be achieved earlier though as some athletes possess great skill at a younger age and prove to be an asset to the varsity teams. Although rare, this was the case this past lacrosse season, as four middle schoolers were chosen to play on the girls’ varsity lacrosse team. 

The girls were committed to this past season as they brought consistency, positive attitudes, dedication, and effort to the field during practice and games. Arianna Lanzello, Isabel Grenier, Sophia Kostkowicz, and Gia Miata arguably pulled their weight on the team and saw the entire season through. 

On why the girls were chosen to play at this level, girls’ varsity lacrosse coach Joseph LaBarbera responded, “We chose to bring up the four eighth graders because they came to a lot of our workouts in the off-season and showed that they could play with the varsity girls. They worked hard, were coachable, and looked to improve every day, which is all we could ask for as coaches.” Middle school girls’ lacrosse coach Michael Kunz, who coached the girls their seventh-grade season, agreed: “I think the girls that were pulled up demonstrated that they have the ability to play at a higher level. I think it benefits those girls to play with girls that are stronger or equal to their ability level.”

Being granted the opportunity to play with girls four years older than them can be extremely intimidating and takes great responsibility. If successful, the younger players can be mentored by different coaches, older players, and create a different type of bond with their teammates. “At first, I didn’t know what it would be like to play with girls four years younger than me, but it ended up working out great!” says senior Elena McDonald. “I think that each one of the girls brought something to the team. They all had such great attitudes and proved they could keep up. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for the girls, and I am going to miss playing alongside them,” McDonald added. 

Gia Miata (South Middle School)

For the middle school girls, it was definitely intimidating playing with girls with four more years of experience. “Originally, I was supposed to play on JV, which was less intimidating because I have played with some of the girls before. Playing on varsity was super scary at first, and I was so nervous, but I had such a great season, and the girls were so welcoming. I am going to miss the seniors, and I cannot wait to return back to LVL next year,” Lanzello explained.

As for Coach LaBarbera’s first season overall, he described it as a “successful” one: “You learn so much as a coach from each team you get to coach. We say it all the time that every season is a different journey, and I just try to find things that work/didn’t work and continue to grow as a coach. This group specifically has a special place in my heart since it was my first year in this program. The girls’ lacrosse community welcomed me with open arms, and for that, I’m grateful.” After the retirement of Coach Tetro, having a new coach was an adjustment, especially for those who played for Tetro for multiple years. The girls adjusted to LaBarbera’s coaching style and though they did not end the season ideally, this year was a learning experience for all. 

After completing his inaugural season as coach, LaBarbera enthusiastically expressed his excitement for his next season: “Looking towards next year, nine of our 12 starters are returning next season, so we are really looking forward to continuing our successes into next season! We’ve set our standards and expectations for the girls, so they know what’s expected of them during the off-season leading into March of 2025.” 

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About the Contributors
Alexis Raynor
Alexis Raynor, Print Editor-in-Chief
Hi! My name is Alexis Raynor, and I am a member of the Class of 2024 and a managing editor for Horizon. I love to dance and hang out with my friends. I am also a part of the school kickline team and love writing for Horizon!
Sean Strohofer
Sean Strohofer, Managing Editor
What's up! I am a member of the Class of 2025, and when I'm not writing about sports for Horizon, you can catch me taking photos all around town. I hope you're enjoying everything Horizon has to offer!