Scott Ericson: Darien seniors leave a winning legacy
NORWALK — It was a coronation.
Not only did the Darien boys lacrosse team wrap up an unbeaten season with its third straight state championship, beating Simsbury 18-3, the Blue Wave put a bow on a remarkable run of winning by the senior class across all the seasons.
With the score 17-2 with 9:15 left, Darien pulled their seniors off the field to a rousing ovation both from the bleachers and from their own sideline.
It was the last time they could salute these incredible athletes.
These seniors earned every accolade, every hug and every medal.
The truth is, while these players have shined on the lacrosse field with three state titles, many have won state championships in football or ice hockey or played in soccer state championship games.
The lacrosse team just brings all of these winners together and the results are what you would expect.
“They are all great kids and they have all been successful in other sports,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier said. “We have our captains, but we have the six football captains are all lacrosse kids, two of the soccer captains were lacrosse kids and a couple of hockey captains are lacrosse kids. We have a lot of kids playing lacrosse who are captains of other sports, stars in other sports and just know how to play on a big stage.”
The football team won the Class LL state title this past fall, ice hockey won Division I in 2015 and the boys soccer team lost in the LL state final this past fall.
Liam Rischmann, who scored two goals in the lacrosse championship, was the goalie and captain of the soccer finalists and said it is no secret why this senior class is so special.
“We want to be the best. All of us want to be the best. Best in Connecticut, best in the FCIAC and best in the nation,” Rischmann said. “No one knows what we do in practice. Nobody knows what we do in the offseason and how much work we put it. Coach Brameier told us before the game ‘fulfill what you guys do every day in practice,’ and it feels pretty special.”
This core of senior lacrosse players has been playing together for over 10 years and Saturday at McMahon was culmination of countless hours practicing amongst a group of young men with a singular focus.
Mark Evanchick, an All-American lacrosse player and All-State defensive lineman in football finished his senior year in two sports with no losses, two FCIAC and two state championships, going a combined 36-0.
“It is unbelievable. We have been working for this our whole lives,” Evanchick said. “We dreamed about going undefeated our senior year and to make the dream a reality is pretty special. In football and lacrosse to go undefeated in both your senior year… there’s nothing better.”
The seniors on the lacrosse team who also played football leave with a three-year record of 102-6 combined in football and lacrosse.
That is a ton of winning.
Brameier said it is not a fluke the town has been able to produce so many winners.
“It is a testament to the town of Darien and the commitment they make to sport,” Brameier said. “You can see we are not just successful in lacrosse, we are successful in almost every sport and these kids are dedicated. From the time they are able to run and walk they are out there doing some kind of sport and a lot of them are two and three sport athletes. They just learn to compete and you saw that today. We are skilled and we worked hard at that, but it is the little things. It is the hustle plays, the hard-work plays. It comes from knowing how to compete. They get that from playing other sports, they get it from playing hard against each other in practice and that is a testament to the town youth programs.”
This senior class at Darien was special and we have not even discussed the baseball or boys volleyball teams this spring or any of the plethora of successful girls teams at the school this year.
This boys lacrosse team, and the senior class in particular, was the Darien winning tradition all wrapped into one amazing bundle, and we may never see something quite like this again.