Pair of Pine-Richland lacrosse players honored
Sunday, June 23, 2019 | 12:01 AM
Pine-Richland boys lacrosse player Dane Dowiak repeated a major honor.
Dowiak, a junior attack, was named a U.S. Lacrosse Boys High School All-American for Western Pennsylvania for the second consecutive season.
“It was obviously an honor earning All-American, but I couldn’t have (gotten) it without that offense around me,” said Dowiak, 17, who lives in Pine. “We were all at our best when we were working together, which showed especially in the playoffs.”
The 5-foot-10 Dowiak scored 59 goals and had eight assists for a Pine-Richland team that earned its first WPIAL title. The Rams were eliminated in the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals.
Dowiak, who plans to play ice hockey for Penn State after wrapping up his high school athletic career, said making All-America last season inspired him.
“But nothing was better than winning the WPIAL championship with that group of boys, especially that senior class,” he said. “They will be a group to remember.”
Pine-Richland coach Kevin Welty said Dowiak is one of the hardest workers he has coached.
“He is such a team player and is the most intense competitor on our team,” Welty said. “His speed, quickness and balance make him a handful for opposing teams.
“He handled being the focal point of opposing defenses very well this season. He was one of our leaders and showed up big for us in big moments during our WPIAL championship run.”
Welty believes the bond Dowiak has with teammates drove him.
“He wants to win for his brothers,” Welty said. “That is why he pushed so hard to be the best version of himself this year.
“As talented as he is, what make Dane successful is his mentality.”
According to the U.S. Lacrosse website, All-Americans are the best players in their area and exhibit superior skills and techniques, possess exceptional game sense and knowledge and embody good sportsmanship.
Players must be significant contributors to their team. U.S. Lacrosse oversees the selection of the awards.
Dowiak was one of two Pine-Richland players honored by the national organization for the second consecutive season.
Senior midfield Sam Skirpan made All-Academic, which is awarded to juniors or seniors who exhibit exemplary lacrosse skills and good sportsmanship on the field and represent high standards of academic achievement in the classroom.
Skirpan, a captain, contributed 10 goals and eight assists this season.
“Sam Skirpan is one of a kind,” Welty said. “He was the most thoughtful and caring leader on our team.
“He always takes whatever he is doing seriously without taking himself too seriously. Everyone on the team is a Sam Skirpan fan because they know he is there for you.”