JORDAN | Everyone knew when Gale Thorpe stepped on the field.
The Jordan-Elbridge attackman provided a mixture of finesse and flair, frustrating any defenseman who drew the duty of trying to stop him. An offensive threat from anywhere on the field, the senior paced Section III in regular season goals scored for a second-straight season.
All 64 goals the 2013 Citizen boys lacrosse player of the year scored weren't highlight reel-worthy like the blind shot from midfield that miraculously found the back of the net. However, many certainly left the opposition scratching their heads.
"For us to know that (defensive coverage) is coming and for him to get the goals he did, it shows his ability," said Eagles coach Rick Young.
Thorpe first had a lacrosse stick in his hands at three years-old, and the game is in his blood. His father, Regy, was a standout at Syracuse University, who played in the National Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse. He is currently the assistant women's lacrosse coach at Syracuse and coach of the Hamilton Nationals (MLL).
"He's taught me a lot and got me to where I am," Gale said.
Beside his pedigree, Thorpe honed his skills playing box lacrosse in Onondaga or Six Nations in Canada. With less space, there is more of an importance in finding creative ways to avoid defenders and taking an accurate shot on net.
"I grew up playing indoor lacrosse, which a lot of field guys don't get the opportunity to play," Thorpe said. "It's different. There's tight quarters, the goalies are a lot bigger, it's a lot of stick-skill stuff. So when I come out for field lacrosse, the field is so much bigger."
Thorpe used his skills to make the players around him better. With defenses already drawn to Thorpe, the underclassmen who were counted on to provide secondary scoring had more room to operate.
"A lot of games, there wasn't much I could do," Thorpe said. "I'd just get shut off…Aurie Schwarting on midfield and Zach Wagner, they stepped up so much. Whenever I'd get shut off, they knew they had to come up big for us to win."
"It was cool to see how much they progressed from day one to the end of the season," Thorpe said of his teammates. "They got so much better."
But without Thorpe and his 60-plus goals, the Eagles would have had a hard time keeping up on the scoreboard with many Section III teams.
"I would say we probably don't win one game if he doesn't play and score the way he does," Young said.
Thorpe plans to play next season with Syracuse University, where he will have plenty of top-tier talent surrounding him.
"Not to take away from our kids, but he's going to play with great kids around him," Young said, "And then you're going to see how the kid shines."