JSerra Catholic High School’s lacrosse team clinched the school’s first-ever divisional championship in any sport last week in a down-to-the-wire match against San Clemente High School.
The response on campus has been incredible, says coach Mike Hutnick. Soon, he adds, the celebrations will wind down and preparation will begin to defend the title.
JSerra Blog asked Hutnick to reflect on the team’s successful season.
JSerra Blog: Why do you think your team was so successful?
Coach Hutnick: We definitely had a great season. I believe that a large contributor was how the season started – and continued. The right players stepped up when we needed them. Sometimes, some years, teams have a difficult time since it is an end-of-year sport. It is difficult at times to keep motivated with summer and college on the horizon. We all grew together, which is important.
JSerra Blog: Looking forward, what are your prospects for next year?
Coach Hutnick: This summer is going to be packed for our players. The fall and winter off-seasons will be as well. Keeping the team busy will further the players’ lacrosse education. Will McMinn is an extraordinary coach, and he played a huge part in this year’s success by laying the groundwork with many of these players over the past years… Next year will be tough, but we are looking forward to another excellent year.
JSerra Blog: Do any of your seniors plan to play in college next year?
Coach Hutnick: Yes. Two are Kyle Snyder, graduating captain, attack, and Brendan Yount, graduating captain, defense. Kyle will be playing at the University of Colorado, a very competitive club that is quickly up-and-coming. Brendan will be playing at Bellarmine in Kentucky – a Division I program that plays some of the best DI has to offer. He is on a big-time scholarship. We look forward to hearing, reading, and seeing big things out of both players.
JSerra Blog: What was the reaction on campus to your first-ever JSerra divisional championship?
Coach Hutnick: Our family was ecstatic! To see the team rise to success in the fashion it did was truly remarkable. Our team will be recognized in the upcoming weeks at JSerra. It is a huge tip of the hat to see our school becoming a strong competitor in the athletic realm.
JSerra Blog: How much adversity did you overcome this season?
Coach Hutnick: Our lacrosse season started with the weight of a culture change. Having taken the reigns from an excellent coach, our whole coaching staff had big shoes to fill. Luckily, we were all involved with the prior two seasons. It is a difficult task to keep 60 young men in line and moving forward… All-in-all, our season went exactly as it should have. We had great experiences, overcame many obstacles, made a few headlines and brought a few plaques back to JSerra.
JSerra Blog: What do you think was the biggest lesson your young men learned this season?
Coach Hutnick: What it means to be a team, to be part of a team, to work as a team, to lose as a team, and to win as a team.
Photos by Thea Campbell