Published March 18, 2013, in The Journal News/LoHud.com.
NEW YORK — As a senior at Iona Prep in 2009, Myles Gillespie helped the lacrosse team defeat St. John the Baptist for a state title as a large group of his family and friends looked on.
Four years later Gillespie made another memory in front of a large contingent of friends and family, helping Holy Cross to a 7-5 win over Navy in the inaugural Metropolitan Lacrosse Classic at Citi Field.
Gillespie, a Rye native, scored a goal in the Crusaders’ first win over Navy in program history.
“It’s pretty awesome to beat them on a stage like Citi Field,” said Gillespie, who is a captain at Holy Cross.
Gillespie was one of nine locals playing in front of a crowd of more than 16,500 in the first college lacrosse games played at the home of the Mets.
Rye native Chris Smith, a Fordham Prep graduate, also scored a goal in the Crusaders’ first win over the Midshipmen in 10 tries. Somers’ graduate Chris Cousin is a freshman goalie at Holy Cross.
Fellow former Tusker Erik Pfiffner and Horace Greeley graduate Derek Katchis were two of the five locals that helped Colgate to a 10-7 win over Michigan in the second game.
For Colgate’s Jack O’Callaghan, a Rye graduate, the 45,000-seat stadium was quite different from the Raiders’ Andy Kerr Stadium, with a maximum capacity of around 10,200.
“It’s great to be close to home and close to all the alumni and get a bigger turnout for the game,” O’Callaghan said. “Up in Hamilton we don’t get a big crowd, so it’s definitely nice to have everyone showing their support for the team.”
While Michigan freshman Mike D’Alessio, a Hackley graduate, is no stranger to large venues, having played in the 107,501-seat Michigan Stadium, D’Alessio was happy for the chance to play in front of extended family and friends who normally are unable to make the more than 600-mile trip to Ann Arbor.
Fans supporting local products could be found throughout the stadium. Iona Prep coach Rick Trizano organized a bus to bring a group of 50 fans to the games, all in support of Gillespie.
“Only thing better about Myles as a lacrosse player is Myles as a person,” Trizano said.
When Colgate senior Connor Brown’s father, Tom, found out his son would be playing so close to their home in Pleasantville he promoted it throughout the town.
“A lot of people don’t get to see me play because I’m up here on the road a lot,” said Brown, a Fordham Prep graduate. “Coming down and playing at Citi Field is a great opportunity to go home and embrace the home roots a little bit.”
For Colgate freshman Jake Danehy, a Mamaroneck graduate, the game was an interesting look at how far he has come. In addition to the entire Tigers’ varsity lacrosse team coming to show their support, Larchmont/Mamaroneck Youth Lacrosse, the league he grew up playing in, scrimmaged on the field prior to his game.
In the end, the game won’t be one any of them will soon forget.
“I think this is a game, too, that you can look back on, five or 10 years down the line and be like, ‘Hey, that was pretty cool. We played at Citi Field, and that was my senior year,'” Brown said. “So that will be pretty cool in that sense.”