Garden City is preparing to officially start defense of its Long Island Class B championship.
Garden City is well-equipped in that area with a unit that includes the Harvard-bound duo of Stephen Jahelka and Brian Fischer.
JP Burnside, a versatile and athletic 5-foot-10, 190-pound defenseman/long-stick midfielder, is another key member of the unit.
As a youngster, the left-handed Burnside thought his future at the next level would be in hockey. But it will be in lacrosse, and at Penn State University under first-year Nittany Lions coach Jeff Tambroni, the former head coach at Cornell.
But now, Burnside is looking forward what he hopes will be a memorable senior year at Garden City.
Here’s JP’s perspective on the season:
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
Our team works out at the Professional Performance Athletic Center three times a week in a speed and strength program. It focuses a lot on lifting and overall running. A majority of the team participates in the program and seems to be working for all of us. As a team, we go out twice a week to scrimmage each other and to get the stick in your hand and back in the flow of things. We also play in a winter league on Sundays against some of the best teams in the county that gets us working on fundamentals and our team philosophy. On my own time away from these other things, I work out with some guys on the team lifting and also running.
How does your schedule look, including scrimmages, and what games are you looking forward to?
Coach (Steve) Finnell has worked hard to put together the best schedule he can for our team and we are all very excited for the season. We are playing a very competitive non-league schedule against some big teams from Long Island and some others out of state. I am looking forward to the games against Duxbury, St. Paul’s and San Ramon Valley. These are three out of state teams that have a great history and am also very excited to be able to play against them. I am also looking forward to the Woodstick game against Manhasset which has been a very big rivalry game in the past. Now that they are in our class, it should be even more competitive and fun. Our games against Ward Melville and Smithtown West are also games I’m very excited about because in past years they have been great games and both schools always have great teams.
What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
Every player on our team has been working very hard in the offseason and I think everyone that made a name for them self last year will continue to get better and playing at their best. Dan Marino, our goalie, who played some games last year will be the starter and I think he will have a great year in net. Justin Guterding is a sophomore attackman who I think can help out the team a lot and could end up with some good numbers in the end. Liam Kennedy, a junior attackman, played some minutes last year, but I think as a starter is going to surprise some people in the way he plays and have a huge impact on the offense.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
I think the strength of our team this year will on the defensive side of the ball. We have three returning defensemen in myself, Stephen Jahelka, and Brian Fischer that did a great job last season. Dan Marino, who has a few games of experience under his belt, should be great in net and help out the team. Eugene Berkery and Dan McCallan are two other defensemen who should see some time. Both are tremendous athletes and can be great assets to the system.
How do you view the race in Section 8 Class B and who do you think the contending teams will be?
This year is going to be even more competitive than years in the past, with the addition of Manhasset. They always have a great team that is going to be tough to take down. Every year has always been a battle to the championship and I am looking forward to another interesting year. I think Manhasset, Wantagh and us are going to be the top three teams and all have a shot at winning it. I hope we are able to play our best and win another county championship.
Garden City 2011 schedule
3/16 at St Anthony’s (scrimmage), 4:30 pm
3/17 Hicksville (scrimmage), 4:30 pm
3/19 Delbarton,NJ (scrimmage), 11 am
3/22 at Syosset, 4:30
3/26 SMITHTOWN WEST, 11 am (time is tentative)
3/29 at Jericho, 4:30 pm
4/2 Ward Melville (at Stony Brook University), Time TBD
4/7 SAN RAMON, Calif., 4:15 pm
4/9 ST. PAUL’S, 10 a.m. (time is tentative)
4/13 LEVITTOWN DIVISION, 4:30 pm
4/16 DUXBURY, noon (time is tentative)
4/21 WANTAGH, 11 am
4/27 at Carey, 4:30 pm
4/30 at Manhasset, 7 pm
5/3 MEPHAM, 4:30 pm
5/10 at South Side,4:30 pm
5/13 at Bellmore JFK, 4:30 pm
5/16 ROSLYN, 4:30 pm
* For schedules for teams from throughout the region, be sure to check out the “Schedules galore” thread, and scroll down to the comments portion for the most recently released schedules.
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