FAIRMONT— The boys and girls All-State teams for West Virginia lacrosse — first team, second team, and honorable mentions — include a slew of Fairmont Senior Polar Bears.
The girls, coming off an undefeated season culminating in a 13-to-4 victory in the state championship over the George Washington Patriots, earned 11 spots on the teams — eight first team, two second team, one honorable mention.
"They're a great group of young ladies that really takes lacrosse seriously," sai Girls Head Coach Jon Cain, who was named as one of three coaches of the year. "We knew we had a heck of a team coming in this year. They really started clicking midseason and they really started getting in a pretty good groove on offense and the defense was stout all year."
The boys, meanwhile, finished their season 5-5, with eight selections among their ranks — two first team, six honorable mentions. Two players, Dominic Stingo and Gabe Harmon, made their second all-state teams with their selections this season.
"We played a lot of very young guys with limited experience and were able to have some success against some really good teams," Boys Head Coach Tony Stingo said. "Things are looking bright for next season"
Both squads leaned heavily on their defenses, as the point-preventing end were areas of strength for Fairmont Senior's lacrosse programs. The girls team allowed less than four goals a game throughout the year, while the boys were stingy in their own right, led by premiere defensemen like first-teamer Jace Dalton, who compiled 41 takeaways on the season.
"We did some pretty eye-catching things on the offensive end but really we rode the defense all season long," Stingo said. "We had eight guys [on the all-state teams] and out of those eight guys, five of them were strictly defense and one was a two-way middie. We really rode the defense hard and they came through most of the time."
"I knew the defense would be good, I didn't know they'd be as good as they were," Cain said. "They were a surprise — one of our best defenses we've ever had gave up around six goals a game, this defense cut that in half, and I didn't expect that."
Further validating the teams' defensive success, both the boys and girls had the Assistant Coach of the Year on their staffs; Jerry Gardner for the girls and Eric Shaw for the boys. Both coaches were the defensive coordinators of their respective teams.
"[Shaw] was a big big part of everything we did and was the reason we were able to have success," Stingo said.
"Jerry's been our defensive coach for years now and he always puts out a heck of a group," Cain said.
Offensively, the Polar Bears' selections were as prolific as you'd expect from all-state players. The boys were headlined by Dominic Stingo, who finished with 19 goals and a team-leading 17 assists, Hunter Bragg, who finished with a team-high 21 goals and four assists, and Josiah Smith, who finished with 17 goals and 12 assists. All three are returning next season.
For the girls, sophomore Aubrey Harrison was their leading scorer with 72 goals and 27 assists. junior Morgan Rogers led the team in assists with 33 to go along with 34 goals. Chloe Travelstead finished with 27 goals and 17 assists, Madison Jones finished with 22 goals and seven assists, and Emily Decker finished with 19 goals and three assists.
The two teams will look back on this season and see different measures of achievement, but both see growth in their future.
"I want us to get better every week, and I think everybody on this list of all-state players did that," Stingo said. "And I think some of the guys who didn't get noticed really came along nicely too. We wouldn't have been able to win five games with the youth that we had and the limited numbers we had against the schedule we played unless we were getting better every week."
"We've got kids chomping at the bit to get their chance," Cain said. "So we're going to reload next year and have another great defense. I think the sky's the limit for this group."
Complete list of all-state players
Midfield, first team: Dominic Stingo
Defense, first team: Jace Dalton
Attack, honorable mention: Hunter Bragg, Josiah Smith
Long Stick Midfield, honorable mention: Liam Cochran
Defense, honorable mention: Ozzy Lister, Zach Bulatko
Goal, honorable mention: Gabe Harmon
Attack, first team: Morgan Rogers, Chloe Travelstead
Midfield, first team: Aubrey Harrison, Madison Jones
Defense, first team: Emma Paugh, Leah Shaw, Rebecca Cox
Goal, first team: Sidney Apanowicz
Attack, second team: Emily Decker, Bella Bock
Defense, honorable mention: Sidney Greene