For the 12 graduating seniors on the Marblehead High boys lacrosse team, the last three years saw unparalleled success, especially for nine of them who were on the varsity in each of those seasons.
These Magicians compiled a 50-6 three-year record (21-1 this spring) that culminated with a Division 2 state semifinal appearance last month. Imagine what they could have done if COVID didn’t cancel their freshman campaign.
Jack Aneshansley, Sam Annese, Baxter Jennings, Connor Sheridan, Connor Cronin, Eddie Johns, Aiden Tardie, Carter Laramie and Finn Maniaci have been together on the varsity for three years. Connor Murnane and Zander Danforth joined them in their junior year, while Nick Whitaker came aboard with the big club this spring.
“I told them at the banquet last night (June 29) that ‘what if we had that extra year of development together,’ but they still did a fantastic job with the hand that was dealt to them,” said coach John Wilkens, who just completed his 22nd year on the Marblehead sidelines.
Wilkens added, “They are a highly successful bunch of athletes for what they have done at the high school, with many of them winning the school’s first [football] Super Bowl championship. It’s pretty impressive.”
Wilkens credits their winning ways to “mental fortitude,” and much of that was developed in the youth lacrosse league, with many of them getting started in the sport when they were in kindergarten participating in youth clinics.
The players then matriculated into playing in the inter-town league as early as first grade, and also in seven-on-seven competitions. These games provided them tremendous competition against their friends every Sunday morning.
They moved up to play on fifth-and-sixth-grade and seventh-and-eighth squads against other North Shore and EMass opponents. There was also a select team of 20 players — several of them were among this year’s senior class — that competed statewide.
Marblehead made it to the state semifinals twice, when they were in the sixth and eighth grades. Only four of those Marblehead players on those clubs — Cronin, Annese, Sheridan and Laramie — went on to attend MHS.
Cronin, who was named to the All-American team this year, made the MBYLL (Mass. Bay Youth Lacrosse League) all-star team all four years from fifth to eighth grade.
When this year’s boys lacrosse seniors entered high school, they had to sit out a year, because of COVID. It just made them cherish the next three years even more, while working hard to get the most out of the sports seasons to bring acclaim to the high school.
Four earn awards
At the June 29 banquet, Wilkens presented Cronin with the MVP award after his record-setting season. Cronin now owns the school’s single-season scoring record with 131 points (81 goals, 50 assists), as well as the career mark with 269 points (153 goals, 116 assists).
Johns and Jennings secured Unsung Hero awards, while goalie Maniaci took home the Most Improved trophy.