PHOTO: The Crestwood girls lacrosse team celebrates its first District 2 championship at the end of Thursday’s 12-11 victory at Lake-Lehman. (Zachary Allen Photo)
By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
LEHMAN TWP. – Thursday was a special day for the Crestwood High School lacrosse teams and, by extension, their feeder system, the Mountain Top Area Lacrosse Association (MALAXA).
Tuesday will be another.
The Crestwood boys and lacrosse teams simultaneously won District 2 Class 2A championships at different locations Thursday.
Tuesday, they will play together in a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament doubleheader for the first time ever.
The girls, coming off their first District 2 championship in program history, open the Class 2A tournament against Villa Maria from suburban Philadelphia at Lake-Lehman at 1:45 p.m.
Crestwood’s boys, who made the state semifinals in 2019, follow in a 4 p.m. game against District 4 champion Lewisburg. The Comets, who have won four straight and five of the last six District 2 titles, already have a 16-3 victory over Lewisburg on their resume this season.
As his team celebrated that first title and word came in that the boys had also just won, Crestwood girls coach Russ Kile pointed to the man next to him, assistant coach Aaron Caporuscio, for his influence on the events of the day.
“It started way back when they were little kids with Aaron running MALAXA,” Kile said. “It wasn’t just by chance or by magic that the boys team built the way they did.”
With his girls teams closing in on the top ranks of Wyoming Valley Conference lacrosse – ruled, until this season, by Wyoming Seminary – one look at the boys team helped Kile realize something that could help get his program over the hump.
“That started with Aaron Caporuscio and MALAXA, so seeing how well they did through their seasons, it was almost a no-brainer for me to make it happen with the girls team and bring him on,” Kile said.
Caporuscio had a background in the sport, which did not exist in the Crestwood School District when he arrived in the area. He grew up near Syracuse, played some lacrosse in gym class in eighth grade, then took up the sport, giving up baseball, in high school because his football coach also coached lacrosse.
After playing defense on the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I level at the University of Albany, Caporuscio wanted to introduce the sport to his own children and the kids they grew up with around the Mountain Top area.
Caporuscio’s son Anthony set multiple state scoring records even though he never got to play his senior season because it was wiped out by the pandemic.
“It’s one of those things, 12 years ago when we started this little lacrosse program – when we came to the area there was no lacrosse – I remember saying it would be so cool if my son played lacrosse,” Caporuscio said.
His daughter Isabella, three years younger, followed. Currently a sophomore, Isabella never got to have a freshman season, but led all District 2 players in scoring this season.
With his daughter leading the historic half of the championship double, Aaron Caporuscio enjoyed Thursday’s developments.
“Those are the things, even as a coach, you dream of, that by the times these kids are in high school, they’re going to be something and they’re going to win a district title,” he said. “It’s something I’m extremely proud of. It’s all volunteer work that you’re doing for years and years and it’s a lot of time.
“To see it pay off, on the same night, with two district championships …”
There was no need to finish the thought.
What had started with U9, U11, U13 and U15 boys teams in 2009 had grown into what will be on display Tuesday.
Crestwood allowed for a boys club team to start in 2010.
MALAXA started a girls team in 2012.
Crestwood made boys lacrosse an official varsity sport in 2013 and began its first girls club team at the same time MALAXA found enough coaches to expand the number of girls teams offered.
“I fell in love with the sport, so I went to college for it,” Aaron Caporuscio said, “and you can see I still love it.”
Many playing at Crestwood and MALAXA clearly feel the same way.
Boys title game: https://nepasportsnation.com/crestwood-repeats-boys-lax-title/.
Girls title game photo gallery: https://nepasportsnation.com/crestwood-lake-lehman-girls-lacrosse-photo-gallery/.