Apex won the 2013 N.C. High School Athletic Association lacrosse title in thrilling fashion. After upsetting rival Cardinal Gibbons in the third round – Gibbons had won both regular-season meetings – Apex scored with one second left to win the championship 12-11 against Lake Norman.
As the sport continues to grow in the state, there will be two NCHSAA championships for boys this season. Apex will vie for the 4A title and won’t have to face Gibbons to do so. The Crusaders will play for the 3A/2A/1A crown.
It also means a new look for the conference as Gibbons joins a league with other 3A schools.
Fuquay-Varina will play its first year of lacrosse, as will Southern Pines’ Pinecrest High. Both will be part of “Conference 3,” which features all eight Southwest Wake Athletic Conference schools, plus 4A Pinecrest.
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Apex (20-2) returns 12 players from last year’s title game including Mikey Daum (29 goals), VMI recruit Colby Lalicker and goalie Tyler Nesbitt, who was red-hot in the postseason and earned N&O All-Metro honors after winning the state championship game MVP award.
Junior Brendan Farrell scored 37 goals in 2013, and defenders Cameron Randall and Joe Copeland also are back.
Holly Springs (12-6) was third in last year’s league and ended the season in the second round of the playoffs. The Golden Hawks return Mason Boone and Taylor Ferguson, among others.
Middle Creek (10-7) returns all-conference player Justin Medwar, a Lynchburg College recruit. Athens Drive (7-9) will be led by its fifth coach in as many seasons but will have seniors Scott Baird (Mercer) and Will Densmore (Emmanuel College, Ga.).
Green Hope (6-10) has a new coach, and its leading returning scorer is Harrison Wynne (13 goals, 16 assists). Panther Creek (4-13) returns goalie Terrence Lasater, Carter Rucker (17 goals), Matt Artman (16 goals) and all-conference defender Anthony Crespi.
Cary (1-15) returns Michael Porter and Dondi Calubaqui, among others.