Casey McDermott and Lukas Stanat had high hopes for their senior season.
They were determined to get the Brighton boys lacrosse team beyond the Section B semifinal, where they were stopped last season, this spring. There were doubts if the Barons would have that opportunity from their first Saturday practice when head coach D.T. Benedict warned the boys of the potential cancellations.
“He told us to take all of our equipment home and he said he wasn’t sure what was going to happen,” said McDermott.
The team received a call immediately following practice saying Brighton would be shutting down that Monday. Just a few weeks later, Governor Andrew Cuomo closed schools statewide for the remainder of the year, canceling their senior season.
“It really hit me when our coach called and he had some heartfelt words about everything,” said Stanat. “That was when I realized I was never going to be able to play for him or with my friends ever again.”
Both boys lead incredible legacies behind at Brighton. Stanat led Section V in goals during the 2019 season with 70. His stellar season earned the attention of several Division I schools, before deciding to commit to play lacrosse at Princeton.
McDermott, who had been recruited by Johns Hopkins the summer before his freshman year, completed his third consecutive 30+ goal season last year, but he believes his whole class is leaving a legacy greater than a stat line.
“I think our class is going to leave behind the love for playing every day,” said McDermott. “Cherish the moments you have because as we’ve seen, it doesn’t last forever.
Not only are Stanat and McDermott both playing Division I lacrosse next year, they are attending two of the top academic universities in the country. They will be bringing the work ethic and passion for learning they learned at Brighton, but also advice from Coach Benedict.
“Everyone has the same role on the team, going from starters who are going to play the whole game to the last person on the bench,” said Stanat. “He wants everyone to have the same work ethic, either scoring goals or calling out plays from the sideline with the coach, getting everyone hyped up.”
“It’s just doing your job no matter where you stand on lineups or stuff like that, just come in with that same energy and you’ll be a great teammate.”