Highland Park has seven state lacrosse titles since 2004, which makes it the most decorated program in Texas. The most recent crown came last spring, when the Scots returned to the top spot after a two-year absence.
When the Scots return to the field this year, they’ll again be among the favorites, which is nothing new for coaches and fans. But for a roster sprinkled with varsity newcomers, that pressure might present a fresh challenge.
“We will get everyone’s best,” said HP head coach Derek Thomson. “There are a lot of new faces. The hard part is that you just don’t pick up where you left off.”
In fact, the Scots graduated 17 seniors from their 29-man roster in 2015. The 12 returnees will combine with a talented group of fresh faces to give HP a solid chance to repeat at this spring’s state tournament in May.
27 Keller 1 p.m.
2 at Allen 6 p.m.
4 at San Francisco 9:30 p.m.
5 at St. Ignatius (CA) 6 p.m.
7 Bellarmine Prep* 4 p.m.
19 Houston Kinkaid 2 p.m.
24 at Southlake 7:30 p.m.
26 Austin Westlake^ 2 p.m.
1 at ESD 7:30 p.m.
5 Flower Mound 7:30 p.m.
7 Jesuit 8 p.m.
12 at Coppell 7:30 p.m.
15 at The Woodlands 8 p.m.
16 at Kingwood 1 p.m.
19 Plano West 8 p.m.
22 at St. Mark’s 7:30 p.m.
* — at San Jose, Calif.
^ — at Patriot Cup, SMU
“This year’s team is not as deep, but they could be as talented as any group Highland Park has ever had,” said Thomson, who is beginning his 13th season with the Scots. “We’re still not where we need to be in terms of depth, but we have a lot of talented juniors and sophomores who have waited their turn, and now they’re hungry.”
When HP swept the Division I and Division II titles in the Texas High School Lacrosse League last May, it might have carried more significance than when the Scots accomplished the same feat in 2008 and 2012.
The growth of high school lacrosse throughout Texas had made the talent pool stronger and more diverse statewide, with more upstarts capable of knocking off the traditional powerhouses.
College programs from lacrosse hotbeds in the Northeast have taken notice of that burgeoning reputation for generating top talent. HP has almost a dozen players on its current roster who have committed to play at the next level, to go with several alumni who have paved the way.
“There are a lot of them now that are making major impacts at the college level,” Thomson said.
Several players are expected to be major contributors this season for HP, including goaltender Colby Kneese; returning attackers Jackson Durham, Hoyt Matise, and Owen Seebold; defensemen Cade Saustad, Luke Petty, and Chris Walker; midfielders Chris Buell, Parker Alexander, and Jack Kozmetsky; and faceoff specialists Chase Jackson and Kyle Massimilian.
Thomson said a few players are nursing injuries from football season that might cause them to miss some early games, such as a three-game trip to California in March. But they should be available for critical April showdowns with rivals such as Jesuit, ESD, St. Mark’s, and The Woodlands.