Mullet Men: The story of the Saint Stephen’s Boys lacrosse team

The boys lax program has transformed into a powerhouse. They have the haircuts to prove it.

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The SSES Varsity Boys Lacrosse Team

Jordan Clark, staff writer

The Saint Stephen’s varsity boys lacrosse team has had its fair share of ups and downs over the last several seasons. But despite the adversity, the team has adapted and become one of the most powerful lax programs in the state.

This year, the boys have become a complete powerhouse, finishing with an 11-3 record as they took the District title. They are currently ranked 136 in the National Rank and ranked 38 in the State of Florida.  Their amazing season came to an end on Friday in the regional semi-final against one of the top teams in the state, Jesuit.

To learn more about the program, I interviewed Athletic Director Mr. Paoletti who said that when he arrived at SSES seven years ago, the boys lacrosse program was facing some difficulties because the program was still fresh.

To improve the squad, Paoletti said the coaches began to focus more on building up the middle school boys team rather than spending all their time focusing on the varsity team. He added that year the middle school team went undefeated.

Regarding this year’s boys, Paoletti said “This is probably the best season they have ever had.”  He added, “these kids have been playing lacrosse since they could walk. It’s just remarkable watching all of them play together as a team and not as individuals.”

Coach P. said that the team “always does the right thing” and that “they are so focused on all the little things to be a successful team.”

It will be exciting to see what the Mullet Men (yes, they all cut their hair into mullets) will do next year.

I also spoke with one of the team captains, senior Cade Ryskamp. Ryskamp said “our strengths are our chemistry as a team. Because we have been playing with each other for a long time we understand how each other plays the game.”

Cade didn’t fail to mention that the team is like a family. “I would say we are a family with our father being Coach Collins. This is because of all of the team bonding we do before games and before practicing. For example, our post-game wrestling matches bring the team together.”

And even though they took an early loss against Lakewood Ranch High School, they still kept their heads up and looked at the loss against the much-larger public school as a learning experience.

As a team bonding event, the boys decided they would get “mullets haircuts,” (business in the front, party in the back) as a sign of camaraderie. I asked what that brought to the team, and he said, “I think the mullets definitely helped bring the team closer together.”

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