Nike/US Lacrosse Boys' West Season Rewind
by Todd Karpovich | LaxMagazine.com
Year-End Top 10
1. St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.), 21-1
2. Torrey Pines (Calif.), 17-3
3. Arapahoe (Colo.), 16-3
4. St. Margaret's Episcopal (Calif.), 21-4
5. La Costa Canyon (Calif.), 18-4
6. Bellevue (Wash.), 19-2
7. Cherry Creek (Colo.), 13-6
8. Redwood (Calif.), 20-6
9. Corona del Mar (Calif.), 18-3
10. Cathedral Catholic (Calif.), 19-3
West Player of the Year
Lucas Gradinger, Torrey Pines (Calif.)
Gradinger has established himself as one of the top players on the West Coast and one of the most highly-touted recruits to come out of California.
He capped his stellar career by winning the San Diego Section Open Division championship, finishing with a goal and three assists in a 7-5 victory over La Costa Canyon (Calif.). Torrey Pines has won six section titles in the past 12 years.
Gradinger finished the season with 42 assists and 37 goals in addition to grabbing 72 ground balls. He was named the San Diego CIF Player of the Year and US Lacrosse All-American. Gradinger also captured the Torrey Pines High School Most Outstanding Athlete Award.
Gradinger has also been a long-time player of the Adrenaline lacrosse program and has played for the West Coast Starz and Adrenaline Tropics.
He was recruited by numerous Division I programs and ultimately decided to sign with Maryland.
Expectations were high for Arapahoe (Colo.) entering the season as the defending Class 5A state champion in Colorado.
The Warriors had another impressive regular season where they did not allow more than nine goals in all but one game. Nonetheless, Arapahoe entered the state playoffs as the No. 7 seed.
The players did not like being such a low seed and responded by tearing through the playoffs to take on top-seeded Cherry Creek (Colo.) for the championship. The Warriors dictated play and successfully defended their title with a 10-7 victory.
Michael Babb, who will play in college at Denver, led the offense with three goals and three assists. Goalie Ryan Smith (Carthage College) lost only three games in two seasons as the starter.
Babb was named the Class 5A Player of the Year and Guy Cerasoli earned Coach of the Year honors.
"He was our MVP and was a tremendous part of our program as a four year letterman," Cerasoli said about Babb.
Long-stick midfielder J.D. Hall also earned All-State honors. Arapahoe won state titles in 2009 and 2012.
Note: The Nike/US Lacrosse Regional rankings will not necessarily reflect the same order as the Nike/US Lacrosse National Top 25 poll, which is voted on by US Lacrosse area representatives and Lacrosse Magazine contributors. LM contributors compile the regional rankings.
This concludes the season-long look at the boys' West region.