DUXBURY, Mass. -- In Duxbury High’s gymnasium on Wednesday afternoon, the cheerleading squad assembled to go through their Thanksgiving Day routine and Dragons football and basketball standout Khai Perry shot 3-pointers with ease.
In the middle of it all was Duxbury’s 14 Class of 2012 students who will go on to play college lacrosse next season; ten of them will play at the Division 1 level and four in D-2.
The photo-op, featuring all of the lacrosse team’s college-bound seniors, was a chance for the teammates and their head coach to reflect on what has been a special group. Even for a town that’s been so dominant in the sport of lacrosse, as a perennial state title contender, it’s a bumper crop of talent that has been without parallel.
“This Class of 2012, what makes it stand out is that there’s so many of them,” Dragons lacrosse head coach Chris Sweet said. “Over the years, we’ve been used to having two or three kids per class that go on, and that’s a great achievement and part of why we’ve been so successful. But this class, it’s almost overkill with how many good players we have.”
What might be the most admirable feat of the group, which reclaimed the Division 1 state championship in the spring, has been their ability to put ego aside and play within the framework of the team. While there’s many players vying for touches and playing time, they’ve put all of that aside to ensure the Dragons continue their reign.
“There’s only one ball on the field, so to get them together to play as a team, which they do, they’re great team guys,” Sweet said. “They support each other, they compliment each other on the field. I’m just a pretty lucky coach to have so many outstanding student-athletes.”
Many in the group have played together in town lacrosse before moving on to high school. Long stick midfielder James Burke was one of seven Dragons to sign their National Letter of Intent in the past week, receiving sports scholarships from Division 1 schools. That number doesn’t include the other Division 1 players who are attending Ivy League schools or, in the case of goaltender Henry Buonagurio, receiving academic scholarships.
“As a lacrosse team, we’re a tight-knit group,” Burke said. “I’ve been playing with these guys since I started playing in fifth grade It’s just been real fun and I haven’t regretted any minute of it.”
Sweet is typically an understated presence and keeps things close to the hip in general. But he makes even less of a fuss about his own son, Sam, a Hamilton College commit, who is among those players headed to prestigious academic institutions to play lacrosse.
In a rare moment of candor, Sweet beamed about his son’s accomplishments, adding that’s it’s not always easy to be both coach and father at the same time.
“As a dad, I’m super proud of him,” the elder Sweet said. “I’m fortunate to be that close, on the sidelines, and be able to spend as much time with my teenage son. That’s the best part because not a lot of people have the opportunity to do that, so I enjoy that part of it.”
For one day, it was time to celebrate.
Soon enough, it’ll be back to business on the field.