Looking back on all the big wins and narrow escapes that came to define the breakthrough season enjoyed by the Landon boys’ lacrosse team, senior All-Met Colton Rupp could only come up with one logical explanation.
“Fate was really with us,” he said with a laugh. “I think everything worked out our way this year.”
Armed with good fortune and a nucleus of veterans hellbent on avenging rivalry losses of the recent past, Landon finished atop The Post’s boys’ lacrosse rankings for the first time since 2008. Over the course of three months this spring, the Bears won the outright Interstate Athletic Conference title, beat rival Georgetown Prep twice for the first time in three years and defeated both the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champion (No. 2 Gonzaga) and the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A champion (No. 4 St. Mary’s-Annapolis).
Landon (20-2) will end the season ranked amongst the top three teams in the country by every national poll.
But it was the amount of resolve the Bears needed during a campaign longtime Coach Rob Bordley called “the most stressful” of his career that made this group a memorable one. Five of Landon’s wins were decided by two goals or less, and its only loss to local competition came in a four-overtime thriller to No. 7 St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes.
“I couldn’t even imagine being a parent on the team,” said Rupp, a Cornell recruit. “You don’t really realize when you’re in the game, but we had so many one-goal games and I think that really was the trademark of our team.”
Rupp led a talented attack that will return rising junior Nate Buller and rising sophomore Joey Epstein. All-Met Hunter Sells, a Johns Hopkins signee, also emerged as the Washington area’s top goalie behind a veteran-laden defense that allowed double-digit goals once this year. The Bears’ midfield, dealt a blow after Virginia commit Ryan Pride suffered a season-ending knee injury in April, re-emerged in time to lead the Bears past Georgetown Prep in the IAC championship game.
But the sum of Landon’s parts, more so than any individual talent, is what gave the Bears an edge in all their tight games and pushed this storied program back to the top of the Washington area lacrosse scene.
“This is the way I wanted to end my career at Landon. I couldn’t imagine losing my last game or not winning the IAC outright this year,” Rupp said. “Everything we needed to have happen, happened.”
Gonzaga won its sixth-straight WCAC championship this year. . . . Howard captured its first Maryland 4A/3A state title and won all but one game by at least seven goals. . . . St. Mary’s-Annapolis secured its first MIAA A championship since 1996 with a late-season surge. . . . Robinson won its second-straight Virginia 6A state title with a thrilling double-overtime victory over 6A North region champion Chantilly. . . . Stone Bridge captured its first state championship and its only loss this year came in triple overtime against McLean.
1. Landon (20-2) Last ranked: 1
2. Gonzaga (18-3) LR: 3
3. Howard (19-0) LR: 4
4. St. Mary’s-Annapolis (12-6) LR: NR
5. Georgetown Prep (13-4) LR: 2
6. Bullis (14-5) LR: 5
7. St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (15-5) LR: 6
8. Robinson (19-4) LR: 10
9. Chantilly (20-3) LR: NR
10. Stone Bridge (19-1) LR: NR