By Alex Frazier
The Carr family could be its own lacrosse team.
Or just about.
“All we need is a goalie,” said Jarret Carr, the seventh of nine siblings. “We’ll put my dad back there.”
Jarret has four older brothers, three of whom played lacrosse. Kris, 30, was actually the one who introduced the others to the game. He started playing at LaSalle. Shawn (28) also went to LaSalle and started lacrosse. But after Kris graduated, he transferred to Hatboro-Horsham where Colby (26) was a freshman.
Shawn, Colby and their mother started the Hatboro-Horsham Falcons club program in 2000. Shawn graduated before it became a varsity sport, but Colby played his senior year.
Shawn and Colby bought Jarret his first lacrosse stick for Christmas in sixth grade.
That year Hatboro-Horsham started a fifth and sixth grade team. Colby and Shaw coached the sixth graders.
“Not many kids knew how to play,” said Jarret. “From Colby and Shawn and Kris teaching me, I was one of the best players.”
Jarret has a set of twins younger than he. His “little” sister is a freshman and plays lacrosse, but his youngest brother is not so much into sports.
Jarret’s senior year started on an inauspicious note when he collided head-to-head with a Neshaminy player, but he’s back in action again.
Following in the footsteps of Shawn and Colby, Jarret plays attack, usually behind the net.
“They put me in that position and I loved it,” he said.
He was third team all-league as a sophomore and second team last year.
Besides being an excellent lacrosse player, Carr is also a good person.
As coach David Sowers said, “He is genuine and hardworking. He has overcome so many obstacles in his life.
“I don’t think I know anybody that doesn’t get along with Jarrett Carr. If you don’t get along with him, there’s something seriously wrong with you.”
Next year, Jarret will be attending St. John’s in Queens, N.Y. Ironically, he originally had no interest in a big city school. He had quite a few schools on his original list, but when he went for a visit to St. John’s over the summer of his junior year, he was impressed.
“I liked the school and they are building a new lacrosse stadium,” he said. “The majority of it will be done before my freshman year. It’s a beautiful campus. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all.”
He was especially impressed with the coaching staff. They didn’t press him to make an immediate commitment, but waited until he was ready, even saved a scholarship for him.
“I wanted to make sure I was happy where I went,” said Carr.
Finally, as the number of possibilities dwindled, he made up his mind and called the coach in August and told him he wanted to commit after he visited for a night.
The coach agreed to let him come up in September after the players returned and practice started.
“I was a really impressed he did that for me,” said Carr. “Right after that weekend I knew that was where I wanted to go. The guys, the atmosphere, the team, everything was perfect.”
And he’ll get to play behind the goal.
“He (the coach) said I play that role pretty good,” said Carr, who is unsure what he will major in but is leaning toward business.
Carr is happy that his college decision was behind him before the start of the season.
“That was a huge relief,” he said. “I’m with my friends all the time and they’re stressing about colleges and where they’re going to go. I’m glad I got all of that out of the way.”
With that behind him, he can focus on his goals for his last season.
“My number one goal is to win the league,” he said. “C.B. East has won the league ever since my freshman year.”
Last year the two teams split, but the Hatters tripped up against C.B. West and had to settle for second place.
Hatboro-Horsham dropped its first game against East this year 13-8, so it looks like another tough battle.
If the league title isn’t in the stars, Carr would at least like to “know that everyone gave 100 percent and had a great time.”
Vikings challenging – In February 2005, there were only 16 players on the Upper Merion roster.
“We weren’t even sure if we were going to start a team,” said coach Brady McCormick.
The Vikings, however, finished that year with 34 players. And when a seventh and eighth grade was started the following year, the sport was assured.
Today, the youth program extends down to kindergarten, guaranteeing a long line of experienced players in the future.
“It ballooned really, really quickly,” said McCormick.
Upper Merion remained a club team for three years before taking on full varsity status last year. The Vikings’ debut was an impressive one as they finished fifth in the league.
Even more notable is their 4-0 start (6-0 overall) of the 2009 season.
Upper Merion graduated only two seniors from last year with the bulk of the returners being juniors and sophomores.
One notable freshman returning this year is goalie Conor Crowe.
“He’s been completely invaluable to us,” said McCormick. “He’s a smart kid and having that back there as a sophomore is really huge. He understands the defense and communicates well.”
And is a National Honor Society student as well.
At the other end of the field, the Vikings have a pair of dangerous attackers.
Junior Nate Hare broke teammate Heath Kupecky’s the season scoring record last year as a sophomore with 38 goals and 24 assists.
“He’s a very, very talented player and he’s still developing basically everyday,” said McCormick.
In the first five games, Hare has scored 19 goals and added 10 assists, while Kupecky has 11 goals and 17 assists.
“Having those two is a great one-two punch on attack,” said McCormick.
The Vikings also have a solid, cohesive defensive unit of two seniors, a junior and a sophomore, who rotates in.
Alex Phanthavong and Alex Kurbjin are the two elder statesmen of the defense, while Tyler Zeoli is a junior and soph Tyler Rehm subs in.
Phanthavong was also the quarterback of the football team.
“He’s one of those rare kids that’s just an athlete,” said McCormick.
It’s also a good sign that the program is attracting football players, who tend to be good athletes.
Junior Ryan Flansbury plays long stick in the midfield. He was a second team all-conference selection last year and should make first team this year.
Offensively, James Brennen is the best faceoff man and has a canon for a shot. “He’s basically a walking muscle,” said McCormick.
Seniors Sean Dugan and John Simons round out the key midfielders.
“This is the first year we had cuts,” said McCormick. “The interest level is definitely growing.”
Around the league – Abington is still clearly the team to beat in the National Conference.The Ghosts have a one-game lead over Pennsbury, with Neshaminy hanging in for third with just two league games completed.
Still a long way to go.
Central Bucks East came up with a big 13-8 win over Hatboro-Horsham. The Patriots can cement their lead Thursday with a win over archrival C.B. West at War Memorial Field.
West, meanwhile, rallied from a three-game losing streak, with a 12-2 domination of C.B. South.
The real battle it appears may be for the bottom four spots.
Upper Dublin continues to rule. The Cardinals have lost only two games, both by 10-9 scores to Avon Grove and Abington. They edged Wissahickon 5-4 and cruised past Plymouth Whitemarsh, but Upper Merion is keeping pace. The Vikings are 5-0, outscoring opponents 54-21.
They will knock heads with the Cardinals for the first time on April 17.
In the early going Upper Moreland is also a surprise team. The Golden Bears lost just once in the American to Plymouth Whitemarsh, but took a huge hit Tuesday in a 14-0 loss to Upper Dublin.
Wissahickon is showing improvement this year. The Trojans knocked off Pennsbury 6-5 in overtime. Garrett Rosiek and Jeff Gebert scored a pair of goals.
SOL Top Five
1. Central Bucks East
4. Central Bucks West
5. Upper Dublin
EPSLA Top 15 - April 6
Team (1st Place Votes), LaxPower Record, Last Week, Points
1, Conestoga (11) 7-0, 1, 165
2. LaSalle College H.S., 3-3, 2, 146
3, Springfield-Delco, 6-0, 3, 142
4. St. Joseph’s Prep, 2-0, 7, 123
5. The Haverford School, 6-3, 4, 118
6. Malvern Prep, 2-3, 5, 113
7. Downingtown East, 5-1, 6, 96
8. Radnor, 4-1, 8, 94
9. Episcopal Academy, 5-2, 10, 63
10. West Chester East, 5-0, 12, 61
11. Emmaus, 4-2, 9, 53
12. Central Bucks East, 4-2, 11, 39
13. Lower Merion, 4-2, 13, 36
14. Unionville, 5-1, 13, 28
15. Ridley, 5-2, 15, 27
Others Receiving Votes (listed alphabetically): Archbishop Wood, Garnet Valley, Holy Ghost Prep, Owen J. Roberts, Pennsbury, Strath Haven