With PLL dreams, D-III transfer Mitch Wykoff faces latest challenge at SU

first_img Published on June 7, 2020 at 9:35 pm Contact Arabdho: armajumd@syr.edu | @aromajumder Mitch Wykoff had no intention of ending his lacrosse career. After the NCAA canceled his senior season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Wykoff first looked to the Premier Lacrosse League. A couple teams showed interest, he said. When the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility for spring sport athletes, Wykoff considered dropping a spring semester class at Gettysburg, where he’d been a four-year starter, to continue playing with the Bullets next spring. By mid-March, Division I programs recruited him as a graduate transfer.Utah was immediately Wykoff’s top destination, said Brigid Wykoff, his mother. Three of the team’s assistant coaches currently play in the PLL. Wykoff had nearly guaranteed playing time with the Utes, and his PLL exposure would increase. But in mid-April, Syracuse assistant coach Lelan Rogers reached out to Gettysburg head coach Hank Janczyk.  “You’re kidding me,” Wykoff said to Janczyk upon learning of Syracuse’s interest in him.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“No, no, no,” Janczyk said. “He wants to talk to you.”The Orange had just lost defensive leader Nick Mellen to Major League Lacrosse and starting long-stick midfielder Jared Fernandez to Johns Hopkins. Wykoff’s versatility and reputation as a top cover player made him a strong candidate for both roles. The Utes remained an attractive choice as a pipeline to the PLL. But Wykoff went for the biggest challenge with the most rewarding payout, his mother said. He announced his transfer to Syracuse on May 9.“He’s more afraid of not just taking the opportunity and then regretting it,” Brigid said.At Fairfield Ludlowe High School (Connecticut), he was the ultimate “cover corner,” head coach Chris Parisi said. Wykoff always seemed to be three or four moves ahead of his matchup, baiting opponents into thinking he was beat before taking the opening away. He’d would spend hours watching film, focusing on his footwork. Whenever Ludlowe needed an opposing player eliminated from the game, Wykoff made it his “personal battle,” Parisi said.Wykoff continued to hone his stick skills, too. In his senior year against perennial Connecticut powerhouse Wilton, Wykoff performed a play that Parisi described as the most “exciting and improbable” one he’s ever seen on a lacrosse field. The score was tied at 10 with 10 seconds left, and a Ludlowe defender grabbed a rebound and passed it to Wykoff. He ran up the right sideline, but Wilton’s press tried to force him out of bounds. Wykoff jumped, his momentum carrying him out of bounds, and flung a behind-the-back pass that lasered down the sideline onto his attack’s stick.Another pass later, Ludlowe was leading. In 11 years as Ludlowe’s head coach, Parisi hadn’t beaten Wilton and hasn’t since.“You look at all these incredible athletic plays that Michael Jordan makes,” Parisi said. “Well Mitch Wykoff had one of those for us. You know, you just never forget a play like that.”Katelyn Marcy | Digital Design DirectorWykoff received interest from a few D-I schools in high school, eventually securing a scholarship from Richmond. For reasons Wykoff said he still doesn’t know, the offer was soon taken away, at a time when most schools had already filled up their rosters. Gettysburg, a D-III school, had shown interest in Wykoff earlier, and he’d gone to one of their camps, said Greg Wykoff, his father. Choosing Gettysburg, his mother’s alma mater, was an easy decision, Wykoff said. From his freshman year, Wykoff started all 17 games on the backline — unusual for the Bullets, Brigid said — and was charged with the opposition’s top threat. He followed up an All-Conference second team freshman season with two-straight second team All-American honors. He was named a first team All-American by Inside Lacrosse in the shortened 2020 season. “I wanted to show everybody that I could compete at the next level,” Wykoff said. “And I wanted to get numbers that nobody’s ever gotten before at the D-III level, and make something of myself one day, and prove that I didn’t need to be at Richmond to be successful.”Each year at Gettysburg, Wykoff’s role expanded. He was soon on the wings for faceoffs because of his knack for picking up ground balls, and his vocal communication improved to allow him to be the defensive quarterback — not just an individual defender. The summer before his junior season at Gettysburg, Wykoff went home to practice his shooting and dodging for hours each day at Fairfield Ludlowe’s field. Then, he would find YouTube game footage to analyze how the best shooters found holes and angles.Returning to Gettysburg, Wykoff found many teams gave him space to run with the ball, expecting him to panic and throw it away. He took advantage of the opportunity. The Bullets’ attackers spaced the field out and Wykoff ran down with a one-on-one matchup. He ended the 2019 season with nine goals, a program-record for a close defender.He played the following summer for the Coyotes in the Connecticut Box Lacrosse League’s inaugural season, a challenge to continue growing his game. Box lacrosse, unlike field, allows moving picks, so defenders need to be strong enough to push through the screens. Wykoff was one of the best defensemen in the league, coach Oliver Marti said, noting his physicality. I wanted to show everybody that I could compete at the next level, and I wanted to get numbers that nobody’s ever gotten before at the D-III level.- Mitch WykoffWykoff was placed on the short man (man-down) unit, adding to his learning curve, Marti said. Box lacrosse is faster because the restrained playing area prevents shots from exiting the rink, so defenders have to pick up more ground balls. There’s also more pressure on clears and no option for passes back to the goalie.In short man situations, the pace of play accelerates. While attacks seek out one-on-one matchups in field lacrosse, box lacrosse relies on quick ball movement. This forces defenders, especially at the top of the “box” where Wykoff played, to be more agile and aware in order to cut down passing and shooting lanes.Wykoff picked up box lacrosse quickly, Marti said. Against Duke’s Jordan Ginder, who was third in the Atlantic Coast Conference in face-off percentage in the 2020 season, the Coyotes decided not to contest the draw. They instead used Wykoff in the circle to put pressure on Ginder immediately after he picked up the ball. It forced a turnover about half the time, Marti said. While the Coyotes didn’t beat Ginder’s Copperheads in the regular season, they did in the semifinals. Wykoff earned an assist and a team-high eight ground balls in the playoffs as the Coyotes lost the championship game. Wykoff improved the most in his reaction time and decision making speed, Marti said. Marti doesn’t expect there to be many transition woes as Wykoff moves to Syracuse, given how well he picked up box lacrosse.“I think they need a great, strong, dependable, confident defender and long stick,” Marti said. “And I think he’ll be phenomenal at that role.”When Richmond dropped its offer a little over four years ago, Wykoff wondered whether he could play at the top level of college lacrosse, Brigid said. He turned “lemons into lemonade,” Greg said, and succeeded in every facet of the game at Gettysburg. But he knew very few D-III players made it to the pro ranks. Without a senior season, the chance of a PLL contract plummeted further. Once again, he had to make the best of the situation. Wykoff found a new home at Syracuse, where he’ll have a final chance to clear any lingering doubts and fight for a national championship and a spot in the PLL. It’s far from guaranteed, but that’s the way Wykoff wants it.  Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

ESI Esports Gambling Report: Volume 10

first_imgThe Kiev Major is well and truly underway. The Swiss format group stage is done and dusted and has sorted the seeding for the main event. The main event is a straight knockout tournament. There’s no second chances; lose one best of three and a team is sent packing with no further involvement. Fan-favourites Mousesports were the first to be eliminated, and another four will be sent home as the action continues tomorrow. We previewed the tournament here and had a look at the first four match-ups here. Now it’s time to put the other four round of sixteen matches under the microscope and give a few tips on the best bet. TnC versus Team FacelesssIt’s an all SEA battle in this match, with TnC surprising many thus far at the tournament. Coach Kipspul seems to have rubbed off on the young Filipino squad as they’re torn apart teams and achieved a seeding that many wouldn’t have expected.Faceless on the other hand have looked fairly poor. They haven’t really garnered any real momentum and many would look at this and straight up say TnC. The issue is that Faceless what Allardyce’s Bolton were to Wenger’s Arsenal – a bogey team. Since the turn of the year Faceless have a 6-2 record over their SEA neighbours so this suddenly becomes a tough match to predict. With the introduction of a coach to the fray, I still think TnC will have too much and will get the one up on their nemesis here. TnC are 3/5 with Betway. OG versus Team RandomThe International 6 winners have left the Wings Gaming organisation and still don’t look anywhere near back to their best. They’ve struggled for results since their mammoth win back in August. OG on the other hand have broken records. They have won 3 of the 4 Valve Majors and still remain the outright favourites to win the whole thing. They also beat Random in the group stages, so with their experience on the Major stage and more consistent and accomplished playstyle one would expect them to overcome the challenge of Random. OG to win at 8/25 with Betway are the second team in our accumulator. Thunderbirds versus Evil GeniusesThunderbirds are no strangers to the Dota 2 scene. They recently left their organisation Digital Chaos which left them playing under the Thunderbirds tag for this tournament. They looked pretty decent in the group stages and certainly proved they can challenge any team. Evil Geniuses have shown glimpses of their undoubted brilliance yet also indications of their mental fragility and lack of consistency.We’re going to go for an upset in this. Danish captain Andreas ‘Cr1t-‘ Nielsen is liable for a dodgy draft and Artour ‘Arteezy’ Babaev is often targeted heavily by enemy teams. With Thunderbirds at 13/10 on Betway they complete our treble. Secret versus SGSimply put, there’s no way Secret lose this game. Secret are around 1/5 to win 2-0 and that’s the best value you’ll find. The top seeded team looked unbeatable in the groups whilst SG could only pick up one map in their three matches. If you’re going to have a bet, back anything with Secret in it.Thunderbirds, TnC and OG treble: 3.85/1 with Betway.last_img read more

Angels regulars Albert Pujols, Ian Kinsler, Martin Maldonado get a day off vs. Blue Jays

first_img Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Refunds were unavailable for fans expecting to see the Angels’ at full strength.Michael Hermosillo replaced Trout in center field.Jose Fernandez filled in for Pujols at first.David Fletcher took Kinsler’s spot at second.Jose Briceno caught starter Jaime Barria rather than Maldonado. “All these guys need recovery days, every one of the guys. So you try to stretch it out when it’s desirable. But you’re going to have those days. Briceno has done a good job of catching Barria. Martin will be back out there (Sunday), hopefully, with Kinsler and Albert.“I don’t think it’s odd that you’re going to have some guys out of the lineup at the same time. It’s certainly something you consider, but I think everybody agrees. Internally, we feel that Kinsler and Albert definitely need a day and Martin is in a catching rotation.”OHTANI REVISITEDAnother day, another round of questions about pitcher/DH Shohei Ohtani’s progress from an elbow injury that, at worst, could require reconstructive surgery and, at best, limit him to additional time on the disabled list. Ohtani will be re-examined Thursday by team doctors.“It’s not like he has the evaluation and then, ‘OK, he can play,’” Scioscia said. “There certainly is a protocol for a guy who has been out for almost a month (already). First, we’re going to have to find out what he can do. We have to find out what the course of action is going to be.“If it is just going to be hitting then we can adjust accordingly. We’re not going to have a schedule and try to have the player fit the schedule. We’re going to have the medical staff determine what his needs are and when he can get back in the lineup.”SKAGGS UPDATELeft-hander Tyler Skaggs said he felt “really good” after a pregame bullpen session and is expected to start Monday against the Royals in Kansas City, a makeup game for an April 15 rainout. Skaggs was scratched from Thursday’s start against the Blue Jays because of a right hamstring injury.“He’s on pace, hopefully, to start Monday, but we’ll see how it goes,” Scioscia said.TRANSACTIONSThe Angels claimed right-hander Hansel Robles off waivers from the New York Mets and optioned him to Triple-A Salt Lake City. Robles gave up seven homers and had a 5.03 ERA in 19-2/3 innings before he was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas and then designated for assignment Friday.The Angels transferred catcher Rene Rivera to the 60-day disabled list in order to make room for Robles on their 40-man roster. Rivera has been on the DL because of right knee inflammation since May 20 and could be as many as three weeks away from catching in rehab games, Scioscia said.UP NEXTAngels (Felix Pena, 0-0, 5.40) vs. Blue Jays (Sam Gaviglio, 2-2, 3.75), Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox Sports West, KLAA (830 AM) Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros center_img “Normal days off,” Manager Mike Scioscia said of sitting down Pujols, Kinsler and Maldonado.The Angels’ lineup had a spring training look to it, however.“A lot goes into it when you’re making out a lineup,” Scioscia said when pressed about sitting out so many regulars at once. “When a guy needs a day off, absolutely, you can’t say, ‘Let’s wait four days from now and play maybe when you’re at risk and need a day off.’Related Articles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter ANAHEIM — Mike Trout served as the Angels’ designated hitter for Saturday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. His sprained right index finger prevented him from occupying his customary spot in center field and he hasn’t tried throwing and might not for a few days.First baseman Albert Pujols wasn’t in the Angels’ lineup either.Neither was second baseman Ian Kinsler.Catcher Martin Maldonado sat out, too.last_img read more