Photos by Kathy Reed
By BRIAN CARSON
LEWISTOWN—The Mifflin County boys’ lacrosse team, under the guidance of coach Anthony Everly, is gearing up for a new chapter in the program‘s history as they prepare for a new year of growth in the sport.
With a roster of 34 players, including 11 seniors, the Huskies want to make a statement in their new conference after a 3-7 record last year.
“Cam Barben, Lucas Sheetz, Stephen Albert, and Aiden Berich are all returning senior captains that will lead the team and help teach the younger players,” Everly said. “We lost four of our six offensive starters from last season in Jacob Underhill, Kyler Everly, Alex Kline, and Tanner Ferguson. They will all be difficult to replace. They were all great leaders. They made each other better as well as everyone else around them.”
Each season brings the team a new level of competition. Facingsome of the strongest lacrosse programs in the region, the players will be challenged to step up their game and rise to the occasion.
The coaching staff has emphasized physical conditioning and skill development to address the challenges posed by the stronger competition. They have focused on improving their stick skills, shooting accuracy, and defensive play–all crucial components of a successful lacrosse team.
“Practices have been great, as well as the attitudes. The kids are eager to learn and want to get better,” Everly said. “Our biggest strength is our athleticism. Most of our players are successful in other sports as well.”
One of the key strengths of this year’s Mifflin County squad is the depth and versatility of their roster. With 34 players on the team, coach Everly has the luxury of experimenting with different lineups and rotations.
The 11 seniors, who bring a wealth of experience and leadership to the team, will play a crucial role in mentoring the younger players and setting the tone for the season.
Members of the team include seniors Barben, Jase Dillon, Reagan Ettinger, Shawn Settle, Gabriel Yoder, Albert, Sheetz, Quaid Westin, Yanis Patel, Berich, and Ryan Earnest.
Juniors on the team are Matthew Brytczuk, Tyler Mateer, Alexander Snyder, Dreyson Weaver, Augustus Cook, Gavin Knode, and Evan Krohn.
The sophomores consist of Landen Bowersox, Mason Bubb, Kaden Miller, Vann Rogers, Tyler Sheetz, Kamden Everly, Aubrey Goss, Garrett Miller, and Dimitri Tiekhas.
Connor Lynch, Austin Mannino, Trey Smith, Riley Hostetler, Grant Barger, Elijah Kanagy, and Oake Molek make up the freshmen class.
One of the primary objectives for the team this season is to improve their performance, individually and as a unit. By focusing on incremental improvement and setting realistic goals, the staff encourages the players to push themselves to reach their full potential.
“We need to work on the basics. Most of our kids are first- or second-year players, so most of our time will be spent working on passing, catching, and ground balls,” Everly said.
The coaching staff recognizes the importance of building a solidteam spirit and fostering a sense of camaraderie among the players. By working together and supporting each other, the team aims to create an atmosphere where every member feels valued and motivated to give their best effort in every situation.
The team’s goals of continuous improvement and unwavering commitment to giving their all in every practice and every game are the foundation of their pursuit of success.
“Our first goal would be to make sure everyone gets better and has fun. I would like to have every kid back next season,” Everly said. “Another goal is to qualify for districts which should come down to our two games with Bellefonte.”
With the guidance of the coaching staff and the support of their teammates, the Huskies are determined to face the challenges ahead and rise to the occasion.