Central boys make debut
EMMETT SPILLANE JR., Correspondent Starting a new program from scratch is never easy. But, as it has shown in fencing and tennis, Central has found a way to be competitive and eventually coach Mike Winkler hopes to do the same on the lacrosse field. An assistant football coach for the Hilltoppers, Winkler managed to get 20 football players to come out for the team when it started as a JV program two years ago, but only six have stuck with the sport as they begin their inaugural varsity season. "I think we lost a lot of them because there was no instant success," Winkler said. "Also, football has become a year-round endeavor for most of these guys." The Hilltoppers (0-3) played mostly junior varsity scrimmages in 2004, while last season they played a more formal JV schedule. This year they will play a full varsity slate in the FCIAC, one of the best lacrosse conferences in the country. "We hoped we could make up for our lack of lacrosse skills with agressiveness and hustle," Winkler said. "That was OK on the JV level, but a lot tougher to do against varsity competition." Junior goalkeeper Ramon Sanchez, also a lineman on the football team, has been outstanding so far and Central "would not be able to compete without him," according to Winkler. Junior Joe Ducrane is the biggest Hilltopper threat on attack and is also a linebacker and an award-winning weightlifter at Central. Silviu Pescaiu, a transfer from St. Joseph, mans a midfield position for the Hilltoppers and possesses the most lacrosse skills on the team, said Winkler. Despite losing two of his best midfielders to injury and grades recently, Winkler believes his team can be competitive with some of the teams that are in the same boat as they are. "It's tough to compete without a youth program and probably about two-thirds of the school not even knowing what lacrosse is," Winkler said. "But the kids who have stuck with it really love it and continue to get better."