The safest prediction on Long Island for 2013 may be Half Hollow Hills East.
Those who say the Thunderbirds will once again be in the mix in Suffolk County will likely be proven correct once again.
After all, in each of the last three seasons, Hills East finished exactly two games over .500 each time.
But that was then. This is now.
For 2013, a big part of the Thunderbirds’ optimism surrounds the return of one of the Island’s top attackmen, senior Jesse Parker.
He enters 2013 in the final stages of recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained over the summer.
Now, here are Jesse’s perspectives on the upcoming season.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
I tore my ACL this past summer playing club lacrosse. So, I have been going to Xceleration Sports Training in Deer Park, four or five times a week to rehab my knee as well as work out my upper body. I feel like I will be in my best shape ever for this spring.
I have also been keeping my stick in my hand doing some wall ball and keeping my stick skills at the highest level possible.
As a team, we have been playing indoor lacrosse in the gym two nights a week, as well as participating in an outdoor winter league at Bay Shore High School with some of the top teams in Suffolk and Nassau County, including defending state champion, West Islip. Many guys are also working hard on their own.
How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
Going into the season, we are seeded in the top third of Suffolk Division. So we have a tough schedule.
I am looking forward to playing all the top seeds including West Islip, Ward Melville, Northport and Smithtown West. We haven’t had a schedule this difficult since I began playing varsity in ninth grade.
I cannot wait to play Sachem North since we lost by one to them last year. So it will be good game to seek redemption.
Prior to the regular season, we host a multi-team scrimmage at our school, Hills East, that attracts some top teams like Bethpage and Hauppauge, and that should a great way to assess how ready we are for the regular season.
What player or players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
I think our biggest surprises will be on the defensive end. Our goalie, Jordan Eichholz, who started as a freshman last year, will definitely come up big for us. Another player that will surprise the county will be freshman defender, Nick DiPietro, who got some valuable playing time on varsity last year and already has some top colleges who have shown interest in him.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
The strength of our team is definitely the attack unit. Arguably, we have one of the best units in all of Long Island. Anthony Ramaizel, who is headed to Lehigh, and Dan Bockelman have developed a chemistry over the past few years that is unmatchable.
We also have Nick Pelligrino, who is a great fourth attackman, who could start on many teams on Long Island.
How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
Suffolk County Division One is one of the best public school leagues in the country.
Year in and year out, we have several teams ranked in the Top 25 in the country.
West Islip, Smithtown West, and Ward Melville are always competing for the Suffolk County final. Some other teams that definitely will contend are Northport, Smithtown East, Sachem North, and us.
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