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Smithtown West has emerged as a national power in this decade.
As a result, the Bulls have had the challenge of trying to meet the high expectations that come with that honor.
Smithtown West has fallen short, though, of emerging as Suffolk’s Class A representative in the Long Island championship the last two years, with that honor going to Ward Melville in 2013 and archrival Smithtown East this past spring.
With significant graduation losses and just one starter returning, Smithtown West enters 2015 in the position of strong challenger for the county title rather than strong favorite.
For a look at the 2015 Bulls, we check in with converted senior midfielder RJ Ehli, who will be playing his college lacrosse at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Now, here are RJ’s perspectives on the season.
What have you been doing to get ready for the season?
To start off, in this past offseason after our season-ending loss to West Islip in the (Suffolk Class A) semis last year, I have been working on my game a lot due to my recent position switch from attack to midfield.
It’s a tough transition getting into midfield shape. I’ve been focusing on cardio and dodging and shooting on the run from up top. And I still have a lot to work on.
How does your schedule look, what games are you looking forward to most, and who are some of your scrimmages against?
We just got our schedule and it looks a lot different than from past seasons, we aren’t playing Ward Melville or Sachem North. There’s a lot of new teams we are facing that we haven’t seen in past years. We look forward to playing Smithtown East again this year , as well as West Islip for the last game of the regular season.
What players on your team do you think will surprise some people this season?
When you asked the question which players will surprise people this year, I would have to say it will be our whole team.
We are a completely different teams than last year. We have one returning starter. That’s it.
We have a lot of potential this year.
What do you think the strength of your team will be this year?
I think the strength of our team this year is how we all operate as a team not as individuals.
How do you view the race in your league and who do you think some of the contending teams will be?
The race in our league this year is going to be tight as usual. Like I said before, we are playing a lot of new teams this year. However, we are going expect that Half Hollow Hills West, Smithtown East and West Islip will all have very good seasons.
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