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

Throwing our money into a black hole!

first_imgDear Editor,Well once again, Central Government like ‘a gallant knight in shining armour’, has ridden in very chivalrously and saved the fair maidens at City Hall with another huge bailout. And maybe they had no choice, as the garbage was piling up all over the city. The workers have still not been paid for the month of November and Council’s other creditors are shouting for relief.But this recurring pattern has become all too familiar, the Council rakes in tens upon tens of millions of dollars monthly from shipping containers, ratepayers, stallholders, vendors, hairdressers, barbers, eating houses, slaughterers etc and then fritters it away on expensive overseas trips, on paying for bodyguards, chauffeurs, personal assistants, anniversary celebrations and nineteen different allowances for the fat cats.They choose not to pay their employees’ salaries, pensions or gratuities; do not pay the contractors, nor the Guyana Revenue Authority, nor the National Insurance Scheme, nor the labour or credit unions. They choose not to pay their water rates nor electricity charges. They take goods from every conceivable source and refuse to pay. Why don’t they give the pink slips to the more than two hundred friends, relatives and church pals that they employed recently which is causing the top-heavy payroll?Why do they do this? Because they know that the Central Government will rush in and settle their liabilities. It’s like calling in the cavalry, but one would have thought with the recent findings of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) – a most damning report – that Central Government would have, at the very least, waited until the Council’s books were audited and the immoral Councillors and officers had left before giving the city a red cent. It amounts to throwing our money into a black hole!Sincerely,Shanta Singhlast_img read more

Perata proposes advisory referendum on Iraq war

first_imgBERKELEY – The state Senate leader on Thursday announced plans for an advisory ballot measure calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, hoping to prompt debate among presidential candidates campaigning in California. The Vote Us Out of Iraq measure would appear on California’s Feb. 5 presidential primary ballot and is believed to be the first such proposal for a statewide advisory vote in the nation. “We want every single candidate coming to California to square off on this issue,” said Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland. The proposal would have to pass the Democrat-controlled Legislature and be signed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to make the ballot. While the advisory measure would carry no authority, Perata said joining it with California’s new early presidential primary would help “set the pace” for the 2008 race. Perata said he would like to see other states put similar measures on their ballots to force a “national referendum” on the war. Several cities around the country have given voters the chance to weigh in on the president’s Iraq policies in recent years. The California measure would be the first in the country to put the issue of U.S. troop withdrawal to a statewide vote. At least 336 troops from California have died in Iraq, more than from any other state.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! It would give Californians the chance to voice their disapproval of President George W. Bush’s “failed policy” in Iraq, said Perata, speaking to reporters from the steps of a city building dedicated to veterans. “If nothing else works, then how about the biggest state in the union rising up to give a clear statement?” he said. Perata said he will introduce the measure in the Legislature on Monday. He announced the legislation the same day the nonpartisan Field Research Corp. released a poll that found that the percentage of California voters who approve of Bush’s performance in office had dropped to 26 percent, the lowest mark given any U.S. president in 30 years. Just 24 percent of the 1,093 registered voters interviewed said they supported Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq, and 59 percent said the United States should set a timetable to withdraw its troops. last_img read more