June 12, 2008
White’s No. 11 jersey retired
Purple Tigers pay tribute to current Orange sticker
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Former Cortland High lacrosse playerJoel White is applauded by Cortland High School lacrosse players and fans as his number 11 jersey is officially retired by Coach John Spallone at Cortland High School Wednesday.
By TANEY BEAUMONT
The honored speaker at the Cortland High boys’ lacrosse team’s awards ceremony Wednesday evening is even more honored now.
Joel White, who graduated from CHS last year and is currently a long-stick midfielder on the Syracuse University squad that won the Division I national championship on Memorial Day, was surprised to have his jersey number 11 retired by the Purple Tiger program after his keynote address.
“I didn’t have a clue,” he said with a smile when asked about the honor, which earned him a standing ovation from those in attendance. His speech had been preceded by a short video presentation of some of his CHS and SU highlights. “I saw that no one was wearing the number this season, and some of the players joked that no one wanted it. It’s awesome.”
In his remarks at the ceremony, White told the team members, their parents, the program’s coaches and some fans that the SU team is close, which he noted was reinforced early on when he and his fellow freshmen were invited to the “lax house” by veteran players at the end of their first day on campus last fall.
“We’re a family, and Cortland’s program has always been like that,” he said. “It all leads to doing hard work for the person next to you, your brother, and good things come out of it. It also meant a lot to me to look up in the stands and see ‘11’ shirts, knowing that Cortland people were there and supporting me.
“College athletics is s different ballgame; this past season was the hardest I every worked in practice.”
Asked about his first season of college lacrosse and the spectacular way it ended, White said: “It was unbelievable. Even we freshmen felt the 5-8 season (in 2007), seeing the effect it had on the veteran players. Knowing how those guys wanted the championship made everyone want it.”
White finished his Cortland High career with 274 points, the highest career total in the history of the program. His 162 goals tied him for the most in a career with Brian Sciera (Class of 1980), and his 112 assists matches Bret Leary (‘90) for third all-time. White was a three-time OHSL Class B first-team selection, and was named a 2007 Under-Armour All-American, one of 44 players nationwide so honored.
He is also a member of the U.S. national team that will compete in the International Lacrosse Federation Under-19 World Championship July 3-12 on Coquitlam, British Columbia.
“We had our first practice and scrimmage last weekend,” he said. “Most of us just finished our freshman year in college were sophomores or high school seniors. It was nice; they all paid respects (for SU’s championship). We all had great seasons. Now we’re a team, playing for the U.S., and we’re going up there to win the gold medal.”
“I came up with the idea of retiring Joel’s number,” Cortland High coach John Spallone said, “because he’s the program’s leading scorer, is on the under-19 national team — no one here has ever done anything like that — and now the NCAA championship. Honors keep getting added into the mix.”
The display honoring White, a picture of which Spallone presented him with in plaque form, includes white, purple and black CHS No. 11 jerseys as well as a t-shirt commemorating SU’s 2008 national championship, all set in a shadowbox.
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