By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/16/12
Conestoga senior long stick midfielder Miles Thomas has been named the Phillylacrosse.com Boys’ Co-Player of the Year for 2012.
Thomas, who shares the honor with Haverford School’s Henry Blynn, was the game-changer for Conestoga in its drive to a third straight Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) championship.
Thomas, who replaced last year’s LSM and Co-Player of the Year Brian Dailey, collected over 100 groundballs and numerous strips to help the Pioneers finish 23-3 and earn a ranking in the Top 10 in every national poll.
Thomas, who is headed to Drexel University, earned US Lacrosse All-American honors and stood out in the Under Armour All-American Game when he helped lead the South to victory and received much consideration for the game’s MVP award.
As the long pole, Thomas continued in the tradition established by Dailey, a two-time All-American who plays at Duke. Thomas was a groundball demon who played the wing on the face-off circle and wreaked havoc for offenses trying to renter the Conestoga zone. He also had the speed and smarts to cause many takeaways and help quarterback the vaunted Pioneer transition game.
“I’m so happy I got to play behind someone as good as Brian,” said Thomas. “There is so much you can learn; the way he sees the field and the way he moved the ball around.
“I really like to push transition; that’s where I feel comfortable, between the lines and getting after guys. I like to put pressure on them and really mess with the passer. I enjoy picking off some balls and trying to cause as much destruction as I can.”
Thomas gave an indication of his impact when he played brilliantly in the Pioneers’ opener, a thrilling 11-10 victory over then-No. 1 Calvert Hall of the mighty MIAA.
“That just gave us a lot of confidence,” Thomas said. “It was our first game and we really worked hard for that one. Just knowing we could play with the best in the country felt good.”
Conestoga did have its disappointments in 2012. The Pioneers fell to Long Island power Garden City, 12-11, at the Checking for Cancer Invitational after being ranked No. 1 in the nation for several weeks. They later lost to Canadian power Hill Academy and Haverford School, but then finished out a fourth straight Central League crown, and a fourth straight District 1 title.
Conestoga rolled into the state finals for the fourth year in a row to meet a formidable foe in La Salle, a team that won the title in 2009 and fell to Conestoga in 2010 and featured a strong attack led by Matt Rambo and Sean Coleman. Thanks to standout team defense and goaltending, the Pioneers prevailed, 10-7.
“Winning it two years in a row and being there the year before, our goal was to get back there and win it a third time. So we reached our goal.
“We came out and worked hard every day in practice. We had a lot of fun. We have a tight-knit group and we have all been playing together for so long. It all comes so natural for us.”
Conestoga coach Brian Samson said Thomas did the unthinkable – fill the shoes of Brian Dailey.
“He meant so much to our team,” said Samson. “His play at midfield and on defense was amazing. He played behind a special player (Dailey); Miles was every bit as good.
“He had the knack for picking off passes and for defending people from all different areas. He was great in transition and a great leader on the sidelines. Miles was great at getting groundballs and he is a very smart and savvy lacrosse player.
“He made incredible improvements and deserves all the accolades he is getting.”
Tuesday, July 17 – Phillylacrosse.com Boys’ and Girls’ Team Coaches of Year, High Honorable Mention selections
Wednesday, July 18 – Philylacrosse.com Boys’ Attackmen, Girls’ Attack-Midfield
Thursday, July 19 – Phillylacrosse.com Boys’ Midfielders/LSM, Girls’ Midfielders 1
Friday, July 20 – Phillylacrosse.com Boys’ Defensemen, Girls’ Midfielders 2
Saturday, July 21 – Phillylacrosse.com Boys’ Goalies/FO, Girls’ Defenders, Goalies
Sunday, July 22 – Phillylacrosse.com Boys’, Girls’ High Honorable Mention teams
Monday, July 23 – Phillylacrosse.com South Jersey Boys’, Girls’ teams
Tuesday, July 24, Phillylacrosse.com northern Delaware Boys’ team, Girls’ Players of Year