On the field, Jahelka and Fischer also starred for the Long Island powerhouse before arriving in Cambridge.
“They have a tradition of excellence and a high standard [that] they hold their players to,” Wojcik said. “They combine the excellent feeder system, [and] you have an outstanding high school program...that consistently churns out outstanding college players.”
Having multiple players from a single high school has provided a huge chemistry boost for Harvard, as Dwyer, Fischer and Jahelka were on the same team at Garden City for three years and started playing together long before that.
“When we first got [to Harvard], it was a familiar face in a really uncertain time of freshman year, kind of getting settled in and everything, and then obviously when you’re on the field,” Jahelka said. “I know what they’re going to do second nature now because I’ve seen them do it so many times in the past, and I’m sure they could say the same thing. So just playing with each other, there’s just obviously a really natural connection.”
The connection between Garden City’s lacrosse program and the Crimson extends to the coaching staff as well. The head coaching position is endowed by former Garden City and Harvard lacrosse player Rick Frisbie ’71, who appears to have originated the relationship. Frisbie was named MVP of the ’67 Trojans and captained the Crimson during his season year. His endowment, the Frisbie Family Endowed Coach for Men’s Lacrosse, supports the head coaching position while also providing a source of funding for the team’s annual operations.
“We’ve always had a very strong tradition of Garden City alumni come to Harvard to play lacrosse, starting…[with] Rick Frisbie,” Wojcik said.
Harvard also represented an opportunity for old rivals to reconnect—prior to facing each other in high school, Dwyer and Duvnjak had played together on the same club team in seventh grade. Through the many years of playing with and against each other in Long Island, the two developed a friendship and mutual respect for each other’s game.
When the two committed to Harvard, they ensured that Long Island talent would be anchoring the team for the next four years.
“I remember talking to him whether it was via text or whatever, and we were just really excited about bringing together a great team with some great recruits coming in,” Dwyer said. “We were ready to set the foundation for Harvard lacrosse and its future, and really do great things for the program.”
—Staff writer Phil Delamater can be reached at email@example.com.
—Staff writer Julio Fierro can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.