The Delaware Hayes boys lacrosse team may have lost its regular-season finale against visiting Shaker Heights by a slim 10-8 margin, but Friday wasn’t just about the here and now.
The Past was a big part of the evening, too.
The program, a decade after getting its start, held its first annual alumni night and presented its first Distinguished Service Award — an honor presented to a player, coach, alumnus or booster who displays extraordinary service to Delaware lacrosse — to a very deserving man: coach Richard Sanfillipo, or “Flip” as most people may know him.
Ten years ago, the Delaware Lacrosse Club was formed as a youth lacrosse program for children in the City of Delaware … and Sanfillipo was the founder.
He recognized the potential for the growth of lacrosse in Delaware and Delaware City Schools.
The program began with one third/fourth-grade team and one fifth/sixth-grade team. One year later, in 2008, Dempsey Middle School won a Division 5 state championship.
One year after that, in 2009, the Delaware Hayes Lacrosse Club was formed. The first season of competitive play occurred in 2010, in which the club compiled a 7-6 record. In 2011, the team had a 12-5 record and lost in the Club Division state semifinals.
Then, in 2012 and 2013, the Hayes boys won back to back Club Division state championships. Not too shabby.
In 2014, boys lacrosse became a varsity sport at Hayes. The boys were OCC champs and compiled a 16-4 record.
In 2015, another OCC-championship campaign, the team compiled a 17-1 record.
Through the years of dedication that Sanfillipo displayed to the young men of Delaware lacrosse, the program has become what it is today.
Coach Sanfillipo was joined by his Wife, Diana, and sons Dominic, Anthony and Joseph during a ceremony on the field at halftime of Friday’s game. All three of his sons are alumni of the lacrosse club, and Joseph continues to play at Otterbein, while Anthony is one of the head coaches of the Dempsey Middle School team, which won the Division 2 state championship last season.
In other words, you would be hard-pressed to find a family that’s given more of its time and talents to the Delaware Lacrosse Club than the Sanfillipos over the past 10 years.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.