In Winchester, Mass., the lengthy past of the lacrosse high school programs continues to benefit the present and future of those teams.
Last spring, John Pirani led his boys team at Winchester High School to the Division 2 state title with a 11-10 comeback victory over Medfield. It was Pirani’s third state championship overall, after back-to-back wins in 1999 and 2000. His Winchester team finished the 2019 season with a staggering 22-1 record.
Pirani was there as a player when the Winchester varsity program was formed in 1966. Since then, he’s been involved with the team either as a player, assistant coach or head coach over the past 53 years. He has been head of the program since 1989. It’s fair to say he’s seen some changes in the game and competitive landscape over the years.
“We were the first public high school interscholastic program in the state,” Pirani said. “We all played with wooden sticks. Back in the day, we would start to play a week or two before the season. Now, kids are playing 12 months a (year), indoors, outdoors. It’s virtually an entirely different game than it was back then. Far more skilled.