PHILADELPHIA – The Saint Joseph’s University men’s lacrosse team welcomes the addition of its 17-member Class of 2016. As the first recruiting class under the direction of second-year head coach Taylor Wray, the newcomers will compete as Hawks in the 2013 season.
“As the first recruiting class for our coaching staff, we are thrilled to have these young men join a talented group of returning players,” says Wray of his inaugural recruiting class. “I hope that the newcomers will be up to the task of matching the energy, enthusiasm, and determination that our upperclassmen established as cornerstones to our success last season. I am really looking forward to helping this group reach its full potential in the months to come.”
Highlighted by 2012 USILA High School All-Americans Donny Finn, Bryan Garrahan, Stone Wharton, and John Winchell, the Hawks add four attackmen, six midfielders, six defenders, and two goalkeepers to the 2012-13 roster.
A 6’0″, 178 lb. attack from New Canaan, Conn., Matt Blasco was named All-State, All-Region, and All-FCIAC following his senior season at New Canaan where he led the Rams to a FCIAC Championship en route to the 2012 Connecticut State Finals. Blasco led New Canaan in scoring during his junior and senior seasons, totaling 107 goals and 50 assists.
Blair Bonner, a 5’11”, 182 lb. transfer midfielder from Saint John’s University, joins this season’s squad as an academic sophomore with four years of eligibility remaining in his collegiate career. A native of West Chester, Pa., Bonner was a three-time All-Ches-Mont League selection and three-year team captain at West Chester East. Additionally, Bonner won gold at the 2008 Keystone Games and played club lacrosse for the Dukes, a local team out of Philadelphia.
A second Pennsylvania native arrives on Hawk Hill in the form of Downingtown, Pa. product Kevin Clarke. Clarke, a 6’0″, 180 lb. midfielder, won four varsity letters at Downingtown East en route to a Chestmont League Championship and multiple All-League, All-Area/All-Philly, and team MVP selections. Clarke also played club lacrosse for the local Philadelphia Elite.
Having been born in Johannesburg, South Africa and hailing from Palm Beach Garden, Fla., Chase Elliott comes the farthest to join Saint Joseph’s 2013 squad. The 5’9″, 164 lb. midfielder was named to the All-South Florida and All-District Attack First Teams after leading Palm Beach Garden in scoring in 2012. Elliot led the Gators to four consecutive District Finals, earning him All-District honors for four straight seasons. On a national scale, Elliot’s talent was recognized as he was selected to represent Team Florida in the 2010 Brine National Lacrosse Classic.
Finn, a 2012 USILA All-American, will compete at the next level for Saint Joseph’s after a standout career at Christian Brothers Academy. The 5’8″, 157 lb. attack out of Wall, N.J. was named the 2012 New Jersey A-North Division Player of the Year and was selected to the 2012 All-Shore Conference First Team after leading the Shore Conference in scoring with 55 goals, 57 assists, and 112 points. Finn was also selected to the A-North Division First Team and All-Shore Second Team as a junior. As a four-year varsity starter, senior captain, and last season’s team MVP, Finn ranks second all-time in scoring at CBA with 144 goals, 147 assists, and 291 career points.
Richard Gabelman, a 6’3″, 190 lb. midfielder out of Gambrills, Md., joins the Hawks after a solid career at Archbishop Spalding. A three-year varsity letterwinner and senior captain for the Cavaliers, Gabelman was selected to the 2012 All-County Second Team and played club lacrosse for SOCO Select and Team Smartlink.
Garrahan, a 2012 and 2011 All-American who hails from Chester Heights, Pa., earned All-State and All-Conference nods three times each en route to receiving Archmere Academy’s Top Athlete Award for the Class of 2012. In his senior season, the 5’9″, 185 lb. standout midfielder was named the squad’s MVP after leading the team in ground balls and captaining a team that finished 15-3 to reach the Pennsylvania State semifinals. For his career, Garrahan led the Auks to two state semifinals and one state quarterfinal behind a four-year total record of 58-12 while also playing club lacrosse for the Dukes. For his commitment to the Dukes, Garrahan was named a co-recipient of the 2012 Whelan scholarship.
A 6’0″, 176 lb. attack from Baltimore, Md., Alex Hardwick joins the Hawks after earning four varsity letters in lacrosse at Loyola Blakefield, a traditional top 20 program in the nation. Hardwick led the Dons, a team that would finish the season ranked 15th nationally, to the 2012 MIAA Championship Finals.
Brian Kittredge, a 6’0″, 195 lb. defender out of Mahwah, N.J., arrives on Hawk Hill after a standout senior season at Don Bosco Prep where he was named to the All-North Jersey and All-Bergen County Second Teams, in addition to being selected as an All-Gibbs Division Honorable Mention.
A native of Cherry Hill, N.J., defender Sam Kotler will play for Saint Joseph’s as the first NCAA Division I lacrosse player to be recruited from Cherry Hill East. At 6’2″, 185 lbs., Kotler holds CHE’s records for most career ground balls (298) and most 1-on-1 takeaways in a single season (57). A four-year letterwinner and senior captain, Kotler received two All-South Jersey nods and three All-Conference selections in his career as a Cougar, highlighted by being named Cherry Hill East’s Defensive Player of the Year for three consecutive years.
Joe McErlean, a 6’1″, 195 lb. midfielder out of Phoenixville, Pa., played two years of high school lacrosse at Phoenixville before making the switch to Bishop Shanahan. At Bishop Shanahan, McErlean was named to the All-Ches-Mont First Team twice and to the 2011 All-Area First Team as he led the Eagles in scoring for two consecutive seasons. The 2012 Kelly’s Sports Male Athlete of the Year Award recipient captained the squad as a senior, totaling 101 goals and 51 assists in two seasons. McErlean was also named a Top 205 All-Star, Hotbeds All-Star, and EPSLA Private Schools All-Star in 2011.
Kevin Miller, a 5’11”, 180 lb. defender out of Chicago, Ill., will don the Crimson and Gray for the Hawks this season. Miller was named Second Team All-Conference in 2012 just one season after being named St. Ignatius Prep’s Most Improved Player. A three-year varsity letterwinner, Miller tallied the most takeaways on the team while also playing club lacrosse for Ante Up Select.
Another Illinois native in defender Dan O’Malley will play for Saint Joseph’s in 2013. The 6’5″, 200 lb. O’Malley hails from Evanston, Ill., where he led Loyola Academy to the 2012 Illinois State Championships and 2011 State Finals in his two varsity seasons with the Ramblers. O’Malley garnered All-Catholic Conference accolades as a senior after being named Player of the Game at the 2011 State Finals.
Cameron Riley, a 6’3″, 202 lb. defender out of Flemington, N.J., progressed from North Hunterdon’s 2010 Most Improved Player to 2012 Defensive MVP. The three-year varsity letterwinner and senior captain comes to the Hawks after playing club lacrosse with Team Turnpike.
A 5’7″ 162 lb. native of Greenwich, Conn., goalkeeper Thayer Smith earned two varsity letters for Greenwich before playing three years of varsity lacrosse at Suffield Academy, captaining the Tigers his senior year. Smith earned Most Valuable and Most Improved honors throughout his high school career.
Pat Swanick, a 5’9″, 160 lb. local product out of Haverford, Pa., marks the fourth attack recruit for the 2013 men’s lacrosse season. A two-time EPSLA Private Team selection, Swanick captained the St. Joseph’s Prep lacrosse squad en route to being named a 2012 All-Catholic Honorable Mention. Swanick, who led the Hawks of St. Joseph’s Prep to the 2011 Pennsylvania State Final, 2011 Catholic League Championship, and three Catholic League finals, will round out the incoming talent of attackmen for the Hawks of Saint Joseph’s University.
Wharton, a 6’0″, 160 lb. goalkeeper out of Jupiter, Fla., was named a 2012 All-American after captaining a Jupiter team that went 20-2 en route to a District Championship and third-place finish at the Florida State Championships. Wharton received the 2012 Jupiter Tequesta Athletic Association Scholarship and was selected All-District and All-League twice. A 2011 All-American Honorable Mention, Wharton was selected team MVP as a senior, Defensive MVP as a junior, and Most Improved Player as a freshman. Jupiter’s four-year varsity letterwinner also played club lacrosse for Team Florida, a 2011 Dicks Sporting Goods Tournament of Champions Finalist, and Blue Devil Elite, where he was the starting goalkeeper for the 2012 Orange Bowl Classic.
Winchell, a 6’0″ 183 lb. 2012 All-American out of Glen Ridge, N.J., rounds out the defensive line for the 2012-13 Hawks. After leading Glen Ridge High to back-to-back Essex County Championships and the 2011 Group 1 State Championships, Winchell was selected as both the 2012 U.S. New Jersey Defenseman of the Year and Essex County Player of the Year. Winchell earned All-State, All-Group 1, All-Essex County, and All-Conference accolades throughout his career as a Ridger, and the 2012 NJILCA Dave Pooley Award recipient was named team MVP last season after captaining Glen Ridge to a 31-10 record in his junior and senior seasons.
“I am extremely excited to welcome these young men and their families to Saint Joseph’s University,” concluded Wray of his first recruiting class. “This is a large and diverse group, an extremely talented group, and most importantly, a group of young men that will represent our lacrosse program and our university the right way.”
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