The number of Californians on D1 men’s lacrosse rosters in 2022 is pretty startling: 143. More impressive still is the number of those players that come from the same high school.
CIF Central Coast Section champion Sacred Heart Prep, located in the Palo Alto area, currently has 8 graduates on D1 lacrosse rosters. Among those players is Paul Barton, now starting at defense as a freshman at North Carolina.
But that isn’t the school being referred to here.
The team Sacred Heart beat in the ’21 CIF championship game, San Francisco-area power St. Ignatius, actually has a higher number of D1 players currently: 14.
But that still isn’t the school.
The school that can claim the highest number of alums on current D1 rosters won the CIF San Diego Section championship last year.
But, more importantly, it’s the same school that won an historic victory over one of the premier high school programs from one of lacrosse’s prime traditional hotbeds: Long Island.
It was a victory that not only established it as a flagship high school program in the state, but significantly raised the entire profile of lacrosse in California nationally.
Torrey Pines High School Lacrosse and Division 1
Of the 143 players from California now on D1 rosters, 19 are from San Diego-area Torrey Pines High School.
And those players aren’t merely rounding out roster spots at marginal programs.
7 are playing in D1’s premier conference, the ACC.
Notre Dame alone has 3; North Carolina has two; Syracuse also has two, including former Virginia player Bobby Gavin, who started for the Orange in goal in their ’22 opener against Holy Cross. (Both programs are topped here, though, by Brown, which has 9 Californians on its ’22 roster, and 4 from Torrey Pines).
That 143-player figure is probably something that needs to be put into some perspective.
There obviously still isn’t a D1 college program in the state of California—at least on the men’s side.
The “closest” D1 program is Utah, which is about 750 miles away, or about 10 hours by car. (Runner-up Denver is roughly a 15-hour drive).
It may seem almost inconceivable to younger players now, but there wasn’t even a Division 1 college lacrosse game played in California until 2005.
2005 was also the first time Hopkins, for instance, took its first California player, Matt Drenan of Rancho Bernardo High School.
That said, that first D1 game in the state, between Georgetown and Syracuse (part of a double-header that also included Notre Dame and North Carolina), did feature California players, and was an unmistakable signal of the presence of talent in the state.
The Hoyas’s roster that game included Neil Bassi, a San Francisco native who’d played at Georgetown Prep, and Matt Fredericks, a St. Ignatius alum.
The Syracuse team, on the other hand, included Sean McGonicle (La Costa Canyon), and a Torrey Pines grad, Jake Myers.
But the event that really catapulted the state onto the national lacrosse scene took place one year earlier.
Torrey Pines Lacrosse vs. Garden City
There are a handful of signature victory over the years that have announced the emergence of area’s outside lacrosse’s traditional hotbeds.
One was the win by Michigan’s Brother Rice over Bethesda, Maryland’s Landon, one of the state’s—and nation’s—true blue-blood high school programs. Another came in the form of Denver-area Cherry Creek High School’s victory in 2006 over Long Island’s Wantagh High School. (For good measure, Cherry Creek also defeated Baltimore titan Loyola Blakefield in 2008).
Florida high schools also struck their blows (see “The Day Florida Lacrosse Came of Age“).
But the most seismic of them all, maybe just because of the 3,000 mile geographic distance between the two schools, and the sheer, East-West, California-New York, coast-to-coast dimensions of the contest, was Torrey Pines’ victory over Garden City High School.
That Falcon victory in 2004 over an entrenched Long Island power that had sent a parade of players to D1 schools brought tremendous credibility to California lacrosse.
It also undoubtedly widened—and deepened—the scope of D1 coaches’ recruiting efforts in the state.
It also inevitably–though not single-handedly—played a part in coach Bill Tierney’s decision, after the 2009 season, to leave Princeton, where his juggernaut program had won 6 national championships, and take over D1’s westernmost lacrosse program at the University of Denver.
(Of the four players from that Torrey Pines team that went on to play at the Di level, it’s telling that one of them, Nick Gradinger, joined Tierney’s inaugural Denver team as a transfer from Cornell. His brothers Lucas and Max—both Falcons—also played D1, at Maryland, and Vermont).
The Torrey Pines D1 Lacrosse Roster
Provided below is a list of current Torrey Pines players on D1 rosters. Also included here is a list of some past players who were also Falcon alumni.
2022 D1 Players
Evan Egan, North Carolina, Senior, Defense
Dewey Egan, North Carolina, Freshman, Attack
Marco Napolitano, Notre Dame, Junior, Defense
Conrad Delgado, Notre Dame, Sophomore, Defense
Jonathan Ford, Notre Dame, Junior, Defense
Blake Erlbeck, Syracuse, RS-Freshman, Attack
Bobby Gavin, Syracuse, Sophomore, Goal
Shad Bruce, Air Force, Junior, Midfield
Caden Wolfson, Air Force, Senior, LSM
Blake Gagen, Delaware, Senior, Defense
Teagan Bultman, Brown, Sophomore, Midfield
Porter Hollen, Brown, Sophomore, Midfield
Christian Rasmussen, Brown, Freshman, Attack
Tyler Blackburn, Brown, Freshman, Defense
Alex Pistorius, Colgate, Junior, Midfield
Dane DeGoler, Boston University, Sophomore, LSM
Shayne Grant, Richmond, Junior, Midfield
Some Past Torrey Pines D1 Lacrosse Players
Jake Myers, Syracuse/Cornell ’09, Goal
Jon Luoto, Cornell ’09, Attack
Nick Gradinger, Cornell/Denver ’10, Defense
Eric Myers, Penn State ’15, Midfield
Sean Doyle, Cornell ’16, Attack
Chris Carter, Notre Dame ’17, Defense
Lucas Gradinger, Maryland ’17, Midfield
Owen Weselak, Marquette ’18, Face-off
Roland Wheeler, Air Force ’19, Midfield
Peter Hollen, Michigan ’20, Midfield
Beau Botkiss, Harvard ’20, Defense
Spencer Small, Syracuse ’21, Attack
Brendan Egan, Bucknell ’21, Midfield
David Parry is the founder and editor of LaxAcrossAmerica. A New York-based digital marketer and copywriter, he played Division 1 lacrosse as a walk-on at Brown.