Before the start of the spring high school sports season I approached Times’ Executive Editor Mike Cutillo to propose writing this column as a one-season/one-time thing.
The reason: It seemed like the Penn Yan boys lacrosse team was poised to have a very good year and go deep in the state tournament and it would be interesting to follow along closely. There also is a pronounced lax culture in the community in regards to alumni and fans.
The team didn’t disappoint, reaching the state final four. But it was far more difficult and challenging than expected. Seven games decided by one goal — six of which saw PY on the losing end. The team was stretched to its limits with a thrilling overtime win against Pal-Mac for its 21st sectional title in 22 years.
So, ultimately they persevered, likely because of their coach Brian Hobart. Without question he is one of the best in the business, nationwide. He has figured out how to get the most out of his players while still keeping them focused, grounded and constantly learning.
I spoke with him a day after the season-ending state tournament loss to Lafayette.
He said he was proud of the kids. He sets a high bar for the team. While the goal is always a sectional title, they were disappointed because they certainly would have like to have achieved more.
Coach Hobart loves the game, athletes, coaching staff and community which is so into lacrosse. He has spent 32 out of his 50 years in Penn Yan.
Lacrosse is a big part of his life. Hobart is general manager of the U.S. Indoor lacrosse team, is involved with the summer box lacrosse program and is director of scouting for the new MLL pro team, the New York Riptide.
Quite simply Penn Yan is fortunate to have such a guy as its lax leader.
I would like to wish the best of luck to the graduating Mustang seniors. Conner Fingar, one of only a handful of Section V players selected as a 2019 All-American, will be hard to replace. A great athlete and fine young man. Jack Peterson a gentle guy off the field, an enforcer on. Clay Kinyoun battled through injuries to add quality efforts. Bryan Duran was largely responsible for this year’s trouble-free clearing of the ball, and Eli Moon and Lucas Paige were part of an amazing group of reserves who work as hard as starters in practice.