“A LAX Look-Back”: Former Wantagh Warriors Who Continue to Make Their Hometown Proud

Dan Parker, Sports Editor

Over the years, Wantagh High School has had its share of great lacrosse players. Many of these players have been able to continue with their talent into their college years. Wantagh alumni such as Ryan Walsh, Anthony Biscardi, Brandon Mangan, Jackie Sileo, Claire Peterson, and Jess O’Brien have gone on to continue playing lacrosse, each having at least one huge year during their university’s lacrosse season.

Ryan Walsh, as a student in Wantagh High School and captain of the boy’s lacrosse team his senior year, scored a total of 157 goals and 100 assists throughout his high school career. Now, as a freshman at Colgate University, Walsh has been expanding his skills. The Colgate men’s lacrosse team was able to get to the NCAA Quarterfinals on May 20, where the freshman Walsh scored three goals, causing his name to be distributed to every website reporting the college sport. Although the Raiders lost to the No. 3 Duke Blue Devils, Colgate finished the season with 14 wins, generating a new school record for most victories in a season.

Another former Warrior, Anthony Biscardi, now a senior at University of Massachusetts, is said to be exceptionally fast and is able to shoot the ball very well. As a Wantagh student, Biscardi was named an All-Conference, an All-County, and an All-American finalist. He scored a total of 100 goals and 54 assists throughout his high school career. Biscardi was listed as a Division I Second Team All-American midfielder in 2012, a great honor.

A Warrior turned Bulldog is also shaking things up in college lacrosse as part of Yale’s men’s lacrosse team. Brandon Mangan, a sophomore in Yale, scored a total of 195 goals and a total of 333 points throughout his high school career. Now, he stands third on the team with 26 goals and a total of 30 points, and followed his team to the NCAA playoffs. Mangan was also selected to start all 16 games this year.

Now transitioning to women’s lacrosse, Wantagh alumni member Jackie Sileo is a player Wantagh High School should be spending more time bragging about. In her freshman year at C.W. Post, Jackie was awarded various titles, including: IWLCA All-America Second Team, Synapse Sports All-America Second Team, Synapse Sports All-America Rookie Team, USACollegeLacrosse.com All-America Rookie Team, IWLCA All-North Region First Team, ECC Rookie of the Year, ECC First Team, and six-time ECC Rookie of the Week, making her freshman season performance one of the best in the university’s history. Jackie also won the Division II National Championship as a C.W. Post Athletic. As a Warrior, Jackie led Wantagh to four county finalist appearances and was named MVP following her senior season. Jackie’s sister Nikki is currently coaching the seventh grade lacrosse team.

Another great women’s lacrosse player and proud graduate of Wantagh High School is Claire Peterson. Peterson originally attended Adelphi University, where she helped lead the Panthers to the NCAA Division II National Championships in 2010 and 2011. Claire decided to transfer to Stony Brook her junior year, where she certainly made her mark. Claire scored a record-breaking 101 points through 42 goals and a record-breaking 59 assists. Peterson was then named the America East Player of the Year after breaking another record for most points in conference games.

The final former Warrior to have honed their skills into their college years is actually coaching a college lacrosse team. Jessica O’Brien currently holds the position of head coach of the Marist Red Foxes, a team she herself played on between 2005 and 2008. Under her leadership, the Marist women’s lacrosse team has had three first-time All-MAAC honorees and seven Red Foxes earn honors on the All-MAAC Academic Team. Jessica’s mother works as a special education teacher and aide here.

Wantagh has been no stranger to superb athletes over the years, and this list of tremendously talented players proves that. It is great for current Wantagh lacrosse players to see the people who put their mark on the sport as a Warrior to have continued with their talent into their college years, perhaps offering inspiration to the current student athletes.