It’s been nearly a year since James Madison High School saw their boy’s lacrosse team capture a state championship against the Battlefield Bobcats. At the time, it was the second lacrosse title in school history (2019).

But that’s all in the past. It’s about the present and what lies ahead, and Coach Aaron Solomon’s team isn’t satisfied. The Warhawks entered the 2022-23 season with expectations of not only getting back to the big game but repeating the feat, a feat difficult to do in any sport in any league.

However, this group seems capable of doing so, and they owe it to short-term focus. Senior Nolan Wilbricht says the team has come a long way since the opener and that discipline has been a staple for the consistency of excellence the team has displayed throughout the season and their most recent accomplishment of winning the district title.

“I feel that the team has changed from the start of this season to now. We have found our identity as a group, and as long as our energy is up, we will play our game,” said Wilbricht.

In their first regional playoff game against the Herndon Hornets, the Warhawks scored 11 goals, three by Carter Casto and three by Mark Rubley. Rubley also pocketed four assists in the victory. The Warhawks dominated the Highlanders 17-4 in the regional semi-finals, with Carter Casto recording five goals in the win. Defensively, Madison held the Highlanders in check, utilizing a communication philosophy constantly preached in every practice.

“Our coaches stress the importance of communication and that we can never have too much communication on the field. I feel that this is the most important part of our game,” Wilbricht said.

The road won’t be any easier for Madison. Within the school, the girl’s lacrosse team is making noise of its own, and their coach, Jean Counts, isn’t one to rest on her laurels. The Lady Warhawks handled their business against Washington-Lee in their quarterfinal game before knocking out Yorktown to advance to the regional final. 

Senior Jake Green is on a mission to help his team continue the quest of a repeat. Still, he said it’s great to see the girls perform at an amicable level, adding that their success helps elevate the Madison athletic program as a whole.

“The success of both the Boys and Girls lacrosse teams at Madison show that the program as a whole is well coached, organized, and dedicated to producing top-tier athletes,” Green said. “It’s impressive to see both teams contending for state titles, and it speaks to the overall strength and depth of the program. Madison produces at high-level year in and year out, and I sure don’t see that stopping in the coming future.”

The postseason doesn’t get any easier for Madison as they look to repeat once again. Their upcoming matchup in the regional final is a big test, and any slip-ups could be detrimental. Though they have secured a berth in the state tournament, Madison does not plan to overlook any opponent, not as long as their players continue to have a hungry mindset.

“Playing these teams has only gotten us better, coach has gone out of his way to strengthen our competition. It’s helped us in all aspects of our game, it’s also boosted our overall confidence,” Green said. “The team knows how high of a level we have to play at in order to succeed. The pressure knowing our life is on the line only pushes us and I have faith in my teammates and I that we can run this thing back.”

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