Managers bust loose in Friday night lacrosse victory

Luke Bender wins national high school tournament at 152 pounds
March 28, 2023

Jazzman - “Jazzman take my blues away with every change you play” - Carole King. I take photos and watch games alone with my memories, but I haven’t seen it all because I’m still watching and that would be a paradox or worse a pair of Dockers. When Lindsay D’Ambrogi scored the winning goal against Queen Anne’s on a clear and assist from Lulu Rishko after a stop from Anna Lopez resulting in a heart-stopping win, I just let the camera drop and said, “No freaking way!” Carrie Clausius and Lindsay, back from the injury list, were major players in the game and had become sideline buddies of mine. I walked across the field to make them “Fredman Facebook Players of the Game.” That is one reason I was jazzed. The other is I was coming from a fall overtime loss in field hockey to Smyrna for the state championship followed by winter with Cape wrestling losing in the dual meet finals to Salesianum. Perhaps “I’m a fool to care” (Fats Domino), but without the sudden sadness of losing, “The thrill is gone” (BB King) from winning.

Bender a national champion - Luke Bender, Cape’s 157-pound state champion, won the NHSCA National High School Championship last weekend at the Virginia Beach Sports Center, emerging as the only unbeaten wrestler in the 152-pound bracket of 82 wrestlers. I nicknamed him Wingspan Gumby and likened his style to wrestling a carnivorous plant on a barrier reef. Luke is not testosterone guy – he has never growled – and he's not an electric takedown guy and he doesn't look like a weight room guy; he is more “the neutralizer,” how ever an opponent attacks or defends, Luke seems to have an extra appendage to thwart and throw them off. I know he is looking at Franklin & Marshall, but in my opinion, Division I schools should take a look at Bender. Congratulations to Luke’s coaches, from Patrick Irelan at Beacon to Chris Mattioni at Cape, and all the assistants for enhancing Luke’s talents without trying to change his style. Luke went 7-0 to win his bracket, beating state champs from New York and Kansas en route to the finals, where he beat the North Carolina state champ who was 91-3 on the season. Patrick Davis, a Cape assistant and two-time state champion at Woodbridge, was Luke’s coach in the tournament along with Chris Mattioni.

Anna B Street cousins - First cousins Mikey Frederick and Ella Rishko were Cape’s Athletes of the Year for the Class of 2022. Both chose Division I lacrosse: Mikey to Mercer University in Macon, Ga., and Ella to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. Mikey has 13 goals and eight assists for 21 points over nine games for Mercer, while Ella has 17 goals and three assists over 11 games for 20 points for Virginia Tech. Ella had four goals and an assist Saturday in a 14-12 loss to sixth-ranked Boston College, while Mikey had one goal and two assists as the Mercer Bears lost to 11th-ranked Jacksonville 18-15. Freshmen cousins playing and producing at the Division I level is rare.

Bust my own bracket - I fill out an NCAA bracket based on no research. I just use walk-around knowledge, then never succeed, and I often root for the team I bet against, which makes me a self-destructive gambler, I guess. I was hoping San Diego State would lose to Creighton, but after watching interviews with their players and coach, I’m glad they won. I shouldn’t gamble on anything that requires a Venmo payment.

Snippets - Nick Walker took sixth at the NHSCA National High School Championship at 126 pounds, which makes him an All-American. Grayson Davis of Beacon took second in the middle school division. Also wrestling in the tournament were Alex Taylor, Andrew Schaen, Hayden Wheeler, Noah Diamond, Jeffery Rainier, Connor Kugelman, Daniel Calderon, Colin Poulis and Owen Mattioni. The annual Saturday morning Short (Minions) versus Tall (Men in Black) intersquad Cape girls’ lacrosse scrimmage, a tradition brought to Cape by P.J. Kesmodel in 2009, was won by the Short team 11-9. The Shorties have dominated the rivalry over the years. Go on now, git!


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