WAYNE, NJ - Last year, Patrick Orapello was the first Junior in Wayne Hills history to score at least 100 goals in lacrosse. His total stood at 105 goals, and he was only 19 away from breaking the school record. He was also just 21 points away from breaking the points record. Points are goals and assists combined.
According to the Hills boys lacrosse head coach, Marc Jacobson, Orapello was absolutely going to break the records. “Barring any major injury, it was a given,” he said. “Pat has never scored less than 29 goals in a season or less than 40 points.”
He was a season away from making history, but he was never given the chance.
With the closing of the schools came the announcement that the NJSIAA canceled all spring sports seasons. Hundreds of high school athletes who play baseball, softball, lacrosse, boys volleyball, girls golf, boys tennis and track lost out on their opportunity to play this year. For seniors, this was their last shot to represent their schools and compete on this level, and perhaps, for many this would’ve been their last time playing organized team sports at all.
The stoic young athlete was asked how he felt about not having a chance at the record. “It really sucks,” he said with little emotion. “I would have been the leading scorer and I only needed a couple more points to break the point record. But, there’s not much we could do now.”
Hills lacrosse head coach Marc Jacobson seemed more upset than Orapello. “It was really disappointing,” he said. “Pat really deserved to hold those records so that ten, fifteen years from now when he looks back on his career, he’s looking at his records holding the test of time at Wayne Hills.”
The senior lacrosse captain wouldn’t dwell on his personal play during his interview with TAPinto. He wanted to talk about his team.
“My expectations of the season were very high,” he said. “We had built a team that had good strength all-around: good goalie; good defense. This year would’ve been our fourth year in a row winning the Passaic County tournament, if we got there; which I'm pretty positive we would’ve got there.”
From there the team would’ve had a good chance at the state championship.
Jacobson added: “This group of seniors has really put Wayne Hills lacrosse on the map from a statewide standpoint. They’ve amassed the best three-year record in the history of our school for lacrosse. They’ve changed the face of our program, so for them to play together one last year was really important.”
The fact that it didn’t happen. “It crushes us all,” said Jacobson.
“It’s disappointing,” said Orapello. “But I look at the positives. Personally, I'll be playing at Monmouth University next year, so I still get to play. There's a lot of kids that aren't playing in college so it's very sad for them. This would’ve been their last time being on the high school field, or maybe the last time playing a sport. So, just to watch them not have a season is very sad.”
Orapello was one of a small handful of players to start for the varsity team as a freshman. “He helped lead us to our first county championship since 2010,” said the coach. “Pat really started the championship run that we’ve been on.”
Jacobson described his potential as unlimited and said: “Pat has left an indelible mark on this program as it is. He’s been one of the most prolific offensive players we’ve ever had. So, regardless of records, Pat is always going to be known as one of the best players that’s come out of Wayne Hills.”
This is part of a series of articles about seniors from Wayne who missed out on important milestone events due to the COVID quarantine.