The Day's All-Area Boys' Lacrosse Player of the Year: Waterford's Caleb Holdridge
Picture it: Growing up in Texas, part of an athletic family, soon able to be part of the almost mythical ideal of the country’s home office for high school sports.
Picture it: Owner of a Division I scholarship as a junior in high school.
And Caleb Holdridge decided that neither was for him, forgoing suburban Dallas for the metropolis known as Waterford, forgoing Division I Manhattan College for the military existence of Coast Guard Academy.
Meet The Day’s 2019 All-Area Boys’ Lacrosse Player of the Year, whose path is rather unique.
Holdridge, who led the Lancers to their first Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament championship, finished his career on Rope Ferry Road with 242 goals and 230 assists. He wins The Day’s honor for the second straight year, another accomplishment in the pantheon that also includes his spot on the Class M all-state team and his selection to the National High School Coaches' Association All-America team.
“It’s been a great ride,” Holdridge said last week, preparing for Swab Summer, the first foray into Coast Guard for all incoming cadets.
Holdridge, who grew up near Dallas, has an uncle known to the lacrosse folks in our corner of the world: Waterford athletic director (and former boys’ lacrosse coach) Chris Landry. Holdridge’s family yearned to move back to the northeast to be near family, a decision that turned Waterford’s program from an aspiring contender into a legitimate one.
“Everyone knows how good high school sports are in Texas and lacrosse was growing down there,” Holdridge said. “But when you think about the best lacrosse, you think about the northeast and down into Maryland. So moving back here was a great opportunity.”
Holdridge had accepted a scholarship offer to Manhattan, but felt the tug of Coast Guard. He has an affinity for computers and electrical engineering. And he played with Coast Guard coach Ray LaForte’s two sons, Michael and Mason, at Waterford.
“At first, Coast Guard was something that didn’t really appeal to me,” Holdridge said. “But moving back here and living near it, I kind of got to see what it’s like. The opportunity to play for a guy like coach LaForte, plus everything the academy stands for, felt like it was too good to pass up. I’m really looking forward to it.”
The Waterford program made history this season, thanks in part to Holdridge. The Lancers defeated East Lyme for the first time during a regular-season game in May before winning the ECC tournament title at East Lyme.
In the championship game, Holdridge scored eight goals, the last of which was the game winner in sudden death overtime. Probably the biggest single goal in the history of a program on the rise.
“I can’t remember anyone around here playing better than that in a game like this,” Waterford coach Scott Hicks said after the championship game. “Caleb was amazing.”
And that’s one of the words Holdridge used to describe his season and overall experience at Waterford.
“The biggest thing for us was beating East Lyme in the regular season,” Holdridge said. “That gave us the confidence to move forward. When we got to the finals, we knew we could beat them. It was an amazing game and an amazing feeling.”
The Day's 2019 All-Area Boys' Lacrosse Team
Player of the Year - Caleb Holdridge (Waterford)
Attack - James McCoy (East Lyme), Rob Swenson (East Lyme)
Midfield - Kyle Jacobson (Waterford), Alex Jakubczak (East Lyme), Mike Kolesnik (Old Lyme)
Defense - Henry Lahm (Old Lyme), Joe Lillis (Waterford), Tucker Mazzulli (East Lyme)
Goalie - Cooper Alloway (Waterford)
Long-stick midfield - Rich Galbo (East Lyme)
Short-stick midfield - Jack Bocian (Old Lyme), James Hodge (Waterford)
Faceoff specialist - Scott Galbo (East Lyme)
Utility - Emmett Brady (St. Bernard/Wheeler), James Deichler (Fitch)