High School Boys

June 15, 2009

The 2009 US Lacrosse National Senior Showcase -- an all-star event featuring the nation's top high school boys' lacrosse seniors representing North, South, East and West regions -- is this weekend at Bryant University in Providence, R.I. Check back to LMO for coverage all week and from the event.

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NSS Profile: Storybook Ending Is Just Wright

by Paul Ohanian | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Hofstra-bound Austin Wright led Kilbourne to its first Ohio state championship in boys' lacrosse. He'll play for the North Saturday in the USL National Senior Showcase.

There's not much that midfielder Austin Wright didn't accomplish on the lacrosse field in 2009.

He was selected as an All-American, recognized as an All-Ohio first team player, and chosen as one of the nation's top seniors to compete in the US Lacrosse National Senior Showcase on Saturday at Bryant University in Providence, R.I.

But Wright is proudest of something he couldn't achieve alone -- a first-ever state championship for the Worthington Kilbourne boys' lacrosse team.

The Wolves began playing lacrosse in 1992, and despite successes that included three state runner-up finishes and several state semifinal berths over 17 years, they had never beaten Ohio powerhouse Upper Arlington and were never the last team standing. Until this year.

Spurred by Wright's man-up goal that jumpstarted the team's third quarter comeback in the state final, Worthington Kilbourne defeated nemisis Upper Arlington 7-6 to claim the 2009 championship.

"That was a big goal for us," said co-head coach Jon Ewert, who helped lead Kilbourne to a 21-2 finish. "It started the run."

Upper Arlington was the five-time defending Ohio champion and had defeated Kilbourne 11-3 in last year's final. But with renewed confidence spurred in part by a 10-8 win over UA during the regular season, the Wolves believed that the outcome in the final could be different this time.

"It was almost like a storybook ending," said Wright. "Beating UA twice was great."

And chances are, if the versatile Wright hadn't initiated the championship comeback with a goal, he would have found some other way to change the momentum.

A four-year varsity letterman and three-year starter, Wright filled many roles for the Wolves throughout his career.

He served as the team's number one faceoff man each of the past two seasons, and rotated between playing on attack and midfield, depending on the team's needs. He's got the ability to drive to the cage from up top, and is equally adept at setting up teammates as he is in creating chances for himself.

He also stays just as busy off the field as the team's designated stick doctor. Some nights, he takes as many as four teammates' sticks home to be reworked. That's if he has time in between giving pointers to the younger neighborhood kids who congregate at his house.

"He's been a great leader for this team," said Ewert. "He takes great interest in helping the younger kids."

For the first time in years, Wright did not indulge his other love this past winter -- ice hockey. Instead of spending time on skates, he spent countless hours working with junior goalie Cole Horwatt, repeatedly showering the new starter with shots to get him acclimated to the varsity game. In the process, Wright further strengthened his own shooting skills.

"All that shooting definitely helped me as well as helped him," said Wright. "We plan on getting back to that routine this summer."

Now that the storybook high school ending has been written, Wright is eager to begin work on the collegiate chapter. He realizes that there's still work to do before he arrives at Hofstra in the fall.

"I think I'm a good offensive player, but I know there's still room for improvement," said Wright. "I'm still working on my off-hand and on getting stronger."

While he proudly boasts that the caliber of play in Ohio is improving -- Wright is one of six Kilbourne players headed for NCAA Division I programs -- he's also eager to test his skills against the quality players gathering for this week's NSS All-Star Game.

"I'm looking forward to having a lot of fun," he said.

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