Christina Petras was receiving flashbacks.
In 2018, Petras witnessed the Manhasset girls lacrosse team win a state title and the ensuing celebration. She remembers being in middle school and seeing the praise from the local community following that victory. That motivated her.
When Petras stood alongside her Manhasset teammates on the back of a truck with their state championship medals and shirts Monday afternoon for a championship parade as fans lined the streets on Plandome Road in Manhasset, she couldn’t help thinking back to those days.
“It felt like a little Deja Vu moment because I was a little girl looking up to those people when they won states,” said Petras, a senior defender. “And I was like, ‘I want to do something like that and be a part of something amazing,’ and it feels surreal because I did.”
Petras and her teammates weren’t alone. They were followed by trucks filled with Manhasset boys lacrosse players – as both programs won lacrosse state Class C championships June 11.
“It’s tough to get one,” boys lacrosse coach Keith Cromwell said. “And to get two in one season, it’s just a phenomenal year for these student-athletes.”
The Manhasset boys and girls lacrosse teams were honored with a championship parade, culminating with a ceremony at the high school that included Nassau County Executive Bruce A. Blakeman.
Family, friends and young fans sported posters with championship pictures from both teams with the phrase, “Titletown.”
The boys and girls teams motivated each other throughout the postseason – if for no other reason, not to be outdone by the other. They won county and Long Island championships within a day of one another and both won state titles on June 11. The boys defeated Westhill, 13-5, at Hofstra and the girls defeated Honeoye Falls-Lima, 17-2, at SUNY Cortland in the final.
“It was back and forth and I think we kind of pushed each other,” said Ashley Newman, a senior midfielder. “It was like, ‘The boys won one, we want to win one,’ and then we’d win the next game and be like ‘Hopefully they win one, too.’ It really was a special year for both of us.”
For Hunter Panzik, a senior midfielder on the boys lacrosse team, Monday was one more celebration before beginning basic training at the Air Force Academy the following day. He will also be playing for the school’s men’s lacrosse team.
“Being able to spend one more day with my family, friends and community before I leave, it’s definitely going to give me something to look at when I’m struggling [during training],” Panzik said. “Just to be able to think about all these people here, we’re a family, and it’s going to be great to look back on this, even 20, 30 years from now.”
Petras echoed the same emotions as Panzik.
“There was no better way to go out and I think just ending my high school lacrosse career with a state title, there’s no experience that’s going to beat it,” Petras said. “When I’m 40, I’m going to remember this day and the emotions. Even when I’m 70 I’m going to remember it and I’m going to tell my kids about it.”
Manhasset girls lacrosse coach Meghan Clarke enjoyed seeing all the student-athletes just basking in the moment.
“I think it’s honestly surreal,” she said. “To live in the moment was something I preached as a coach and today was living in the moment. It was something these kids deserved.”
“We had our ups and downs this season, both teams did, but we were truly able to see it out,” Panzik said. “No one really thought this would happen but it’s truly something special to me and I know it’s going to go in Manhasset history.”