Successful year for La Salle High athletics

SAM FRITCH / LA SALLE COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL Fifty-three of the 55 La Salle student athletes who will participate in 12 sports at 35 different colleges and universities around the nation next year.
SAM FRITCH / LA SALLE COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL Fifty-three of the 55 La Salle student athletes who will participate in 12 sports at 35 different colleges and universities around the nation next year.
Posted: June 18, 2013

CONOR RESCH and La Salle High sports go 'way back.

In September 2001, as he was entering first grade, fresh off a move from Roxborough to Flourtown, Resch began attending the Explorers' football games because his father, Tony, had become the athletic director.

"I got to stand on the sideline," Conor recalled. "My dad wouldn't let me be the ball boy, but that was cool. No responsibility. Just stand there and enjoy the game.

"I remember how much the student body would come out to support the team, and what a special atmosphere that created. It was like the entire student body was united behind this one team.

"As the years went on, I saw that with all of the sports. There was so much camaraderie. I was always thinking, 'I wanna be a part of this.' "

Did you hear that finger snap? Twelve years have swooshed past and Conor Resch is now a graduate. But, oh, what a wonderful school year he just experienced. And he was hardly alone.

How'd you like to bat .714 from September to June?

In Catholic League competition, that was the amazing feat accomplished by La Salle's athletic program in 2012-13.

The CL offers 14 varsity sports for boys and the Explorers claimed 10 championships. They even had special moments in sports not under the CL umbrella - for instance, the hockey squad captured the Flyers Cup.

In all, La Salle offeres 17 sports and 55 senior members of those teams are expected to play in college.

The Explorers won three titles apiece in fall (football, soccer, golf) and winter (wrestling, swimming, indoor track), then stormed to four more this spring (baseball, outdoor track, lacrosse, tennis).

Resch was a starter for two of those squads - center in football, defender in lacrosse - and after the laxers captured the state crown two Saturdays ago, he headed down the shore for Senior Week festivities.

His housemates? Teammates from one or both sports, of course.

"Because I'm still around all the guys, it really hasn't set in that I'm leaving La Salle," Resch said via cellphone. "But I do already know that place gave me a feeling I won't be able to replace.

"The faculty. All the students. The bond we all have, I don't know how college is going to be able to match it. La Salle's a really special place."

Tony Resch, a headliner in pro lacrosse as a player and coach, still works at La Salle and assists Bill Leahy with the laxers. Back in the AD's chair is longtime baseball coach Joe Parisi, who first held the AD position for 10 years ending in June 2001.

Chuck Cirelli is Parisi's main assistant, and Resch still helps (especially with making transportation arrangements). Also, each sport has a faculty moderator.

Of the 14 programs in CL sports, 10 have JV squads and six have separate teams for freshmen.

Parisi said the Explorers' success can be traced to "having kids who are extremely coachable. They want to learn and they want to do well." On a par with them are "dedicated coaches who help our kids in a variety of ways. We get them involved in service projects, which really creates a bond, and give them help with furthering their education."

Parisi is also a big proponent of multisport participation.

In fact . . .

"We strongly discourage a coach in one sport from telling his kids that they shouldn't play other sports," he said, emphatically. "We want our coaches to share the good athletes.

"Take Sean Coleman, for instance. Even as a junior, he was already considered one of the top five lacrosse players in the country. Yet, there he was, on his way to becoming good enough in football to earn all-state honors."

Among the school's many two-sporters is junior Nick Dermo, who mixes baseball (catcher) with water polo.

In WP, a fall sport, the Explorers won the eastern championship and placed fourth in the state.

"Playing two sports is fun because at the end of one season, you can forget about that sport - maybe you're a little tired of it - and focus on the next one. It's a good cycle," Dermo said.

As a youth, Dermo's second sport was swimming, and he did stick with that through his freshman year at La Salle.

"Then I saw water polo as my perfect-combination sport," he said. "I could still swim and use my arm strength to shoot. I joined the team and loved the kids and atmosphere. The training is probably the hardest you'll ever go through, and it definitely prepares you for other sports."

Speaking of preparation . . .

Conor Resch, who will play lacrosse at Yale, alma mater of his father and mother (Mary), said he always viewed his football/lacrosse coaches "as geniuses" and that "it was easy to follow what they were saying because of the respect I had for them."

He added, "And the kids on my teams were always so bonded. I mean, just look at football. It's 6 months after the season and we're all here together down the shore.

"That goes back to our coaches, too. They would always tell us to look out for each other on weekends. To keep each other 'in lockdown.' "

At some/many schools, it's likely safe to assume, the jocks would not be caught dead near a nerd, and those in the mainstream sports would rarely mingle with those in the minors.

La Salle doesn't play that unappealing game, Dermo said.

"You get some sports that get more [attention], of course, but that's one thing about our place: Every sport does get attention," he said. "There's an overall appreciation for every sport and, overall, everyone respects each other's talent, whether it's sports, music, art . . .

"Everyone at La Salle has a special talent, and a lot of guys have more than one."

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