VESTAL (WBNG) – The Vestal Golden Bears are the defending Class B Section IV Champions and have jumped out to a 6-1 start in 2018. A big reason for the Golden Bears’ success, 12 Sports’ Athlete of the Week, J.T. Stirpe. The Vestal junior is one of the best, if not the very best lacrosse player in the Southern Tier.
"His raw-talent level is unbelievable," said Vestal boy’s lacrosse head coach Chris Dutkowsky.
"He’s always had the ability," Dutkowsky added.
"Both hands," said Dutkowsky. "He can go to his right, he can go to his left and do the same thing."
Dutkowsky continued, "It’s fun to watch."
Look out Section IV, there’s a scoring machine in Vestal.
"The way he dodges," said Dutkowsky. "His stick-skills are phenomenal and he’s very quick. If he’s fast, it makes him really difficult to guard for anyone."
He has all the shots in his bag of tricks.
"A lot of time-and-room shots," said Vestal junior attack J.T. Stirpe. "You can go underhand, you can go overhand. Or when you’re turning the corner, it’s a wrap-around shot where you can do a question mark where you dodge up one side and then peel back. and get a shot off, maybe in the air jumping."
Only a junior, but colleges are well aware of Vestal’s J.T. Stirpe.
"I’m going to play lacrosse at Syracuse University," said Stirpe.
A scholarship to play for the 15-time national champions.
"Maybe I’ll ever have a shot to win a NCAA Title," said Stirpe. "That’d be great. Just focusing on working hard up there. For four years, it will be a lot of fun."
A major D-I commit oozing with talent.
"He has a level of potential that he hasn’t got to yet," said Dutkowsky. "Which is probably scary for other teams."
"(He’s) starting to understand how to read defenses," said Dutkowsky. "It’s just every year. He’s still got room to improve and it’s fun to watch him every single game."
SU is the future and the future is bright, but right now Stirpe’s focus is on the green and gold and helping the Golden Bears get back to the state playoffs.
"Finish out strong, maybe win a state championship," said Stirpe. "It’d be nice this year. We have a great team. We’ve got a great group of boys. Coaching staff has been great. We might have a good possibility. Hopefully we can play Victor again this year."
Stirpe wants the rematch with powerhouse Victor who has won three straight state championships and beat the Golden Bears in the state semifinals last year.