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Boys and Girls Lacrosse: Southeast 2024 Season Previews

Boys and Girls Lacrosse: Southeast 2024 Season Previews


By Susan Jenior

Staff Writer

Lacrosse is often found at Division I and private schools as they compete as a OHSAA sport.

However, the sport has found a home at Southeast High School, with the boys competing for the past 11 years and the girls in only their third season.



For the boys, Karl Mesaros is the only coach the team has known since he started the program.

“I never played the sport,” said Mesaros. “A friend of mine got me watching lacrosse on TV, and I fell in love with the sport and decided to bring it to Southeast.”

Mesasros took instruction courses as he was getting the sport started.

Lacrosse is now a full-season sport with a 17-game schedule this spring competing in OHSAA Region 6.

One of the alumni, Levi Willard, is playing at Hiram and is a sophomore for the Terriers.

“When someone comes to watch lacrosse the first time, they are fascinated by it,” said Mesaros. “It is exciting and fast paced. We have a variety of kids playing the sport — some that haven’t played other sports but now are excelling and do well.”

In the 2023 season, the team was 1-15 with a very young team. This season, the team is already 2-3. Mesaros is expecting to do well this season.

“We could be 4-1 right now and two of the games could have gone either way,” said Mesaros.

Nine seniors return to the team this season, including four-year player Case Myers who plays attack and is the captain.

“Case is our go-to guy on offense,” said Mesaros.

Garrett Sprutte, also a senior, is coming off an outstanding basketball season.

Dillon Donell, a junior, is a leader on the team offered Mesaros.

“He started playing his freshman year and works really hard, shooting and shooting.”

The seniors, including Nick Vallelonga, Preston Bello, Gavin Bertka, Aiden McClelland, Benjamin Oblak, Zachery Tessean and Brian Umana, join a strong freshman class.

“The freshmen came up through a strong youth program,” said Mesaros.

One of Southeast’s limitations is not having a turf field.

“Lacrosse plays through snow, rain, cold and every weather condition except lightning. Most of the schools we play have turf, but we play on grass for home matches,” said Mesaros, who has set a goal for his team to break the .500 mark this season, while he also always looks forward to the Pirates’ matchup with rival Canfield.

“The schools are all Division I that we compete against,” said Mesaros.

“Lacrosse requires a lot of hard work and our kids know they have to put in the time playing schools the size of Kent Roosevelt and Louisville in our playoff division.”

Mesaros is looking forward to this season, as he always does, and looks forward to the team’s success and the Southeast community cheering them to victory.

The boys will play Canfield at home on April 9 and at Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin on April 12.



Hannah Riffle has been the coach at Southeast for all three seasons the team has existed.

Last season, the team posted a 2-6 record. This season, the team has a schedule of 12 matches.

The Pirates return letterwinners Gretchen DeLaney, Claire Dillner, Arianna Fiorentino, Alex Hrkach, Mallory Takacs, Lainey West and Jalynn Witchey this season, looking to improve on the team’s record.

“We are welcoming a lot of new faces to the team this year,” said Riffle.

Southeast lost a large, athletic senior class and many of the team’s scoring threats.

“The team is extremely young and very green,” said Riffle. “Being only our third season, we want to continue to grow as lacrosse players and strive to get better every day.”

The team is looking forward to competing against Kirtland because the school is new to lacrosse as well.

The team’s assistant coaches are Elliott Thomas and Cameron McPeak.

“Coach Thomas was a part in the early workings of the Southeast boys lacrosse team, developing through the program and playing for Youngstown State’s club team,” said Riffle.

“Cameron McPeak brings a great sports mind to the coaching staff, as well as a large knowledge of strength and conditioning,” Riffle added. “Both Thomas and McPeak play vital roles in our program’s coaching staff.”

Riffle was excited to announce that 2024 graduate Mallory Takacs will be competing for Walsh University next season as the first collegiate athlete in the girls program history.

“Along with Takacs, junior Alex Hrkach has also been receiving some college offers,” said Riffle.

Throughout the season, the Pirates are looking to get the ball into the hands of Hrkach, Dillner and Takacs, all veteran players for the team offensively.

Defensively, Southeast has Witchey, West and Fiorentino as returning letterwinners.

“Delaney will be returning for us in the goal,” said Riffle.

“We are looking forward to another season of lacrosse for the Pirates,” said Riffle.

The girls next contests are both home matches against Louisville on April 12 followed by Canfield on April 15.

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