When it comes to boys lacrosse on Long Island, for one day at least, the pens are mightier than the sticks.
That was the case again this year on national signing day (Nov. 12) when four of the nation's top 10 recruits, according to numerous ratings organizations, signed or committed to Division I schools.
Danny Bucaro of Ward Melville, a high-scoring attack who was a Newsday first-team selection last spring, signed with Georgetown. "He's definitely the best player on Long Island," Sachem North coach Jay Mauro said.
Mauro should know. The Flaming Arrows and Patriots play in League I, which Mauro called "the toughest public school league in the country."
For 2015, the former 23-team Suffolk League I, composed of Class A (large) schools, will split into two leagues, based on enrollment.
Sachem North is well positioned to challenge defending champion Smithtown East (League II) for Class A supremacy this spring with 13 players committed to play college lacrosse in the Class of 2015, plus Kevin Bragaglia, who already has been offered at Stony Brook but did not sign as he waits to see if he will receive any football scholarship offers.
The Arrows' Division I signees include attack/midfielder Sean O'Brien (Army), defenseman Ian Junge (UMBC), middie Willie Russo (UMass-Lowell) and defenseman Bobby Amato (Stony Brook).
"Sean is a great kid, a great leader and represents what Sachem North is all about," Mauro said. "Ian is one of the best defensemen in Suffolk. He's a lefty with great range. Willie has really improved since last spring and Bobby is only 5-9 but plays with a lot of heart and does it the right way."
Among Long Island's other top 10 signings last week were Newsday first-team all-Long Island returnees Brian Willetts of Smithtown East (Notre Dame) and Tom Wright of Garden City (Penn State) plus Garden City faceoff specialist/midfielder James Sullivan (Harvard), a Newsday second-team choice.
Other Newsday second-team All-Long Island selections who signed were defenseman Eddie Bouhall of Lynbrook (Lehigh), attack Ryan Bray of Shoreham-Wading River (Cornell) and middie John Daniggelis of Smithtown East (Yale).
Sachem North wasn't the only school with multiple Division I signings. Some of the others include defending Class A state champion Massapequa, Syosset, Northport, Smithtown East, Ward Melville, Shoreham-Wading River, St. Anthony's and Chaminade.
Mauro said his Class of 2015 is his best ever as far as getting players to the next level. "That's what it's about for me," he said. "It's about giving all these kids a chance in college. By the time the school year is over, we'll have 15 to 17 college commitments. And we already have kids who've committed in our junior and sophomore classes."
That's true around Long Island, a byproduct of competitive college recruiters targeting younger players, with the elite often making commitments before their sophomore seasons as Sayville's Jack Coan (Notre Dame) did last summer.
For Mauro, the interest colleges have shown in Sachem North "proves that we're consistently one of the top teams in Suffolk." With pens as well as sticks.