Bryan and Rich Petillo have many things in common: the same last name, a father-son bond, both graduated from Sachem and now both have won championships.
Granted, Rich's was a 1979 New York State title with the Black & Gold – the school's first state title in lacrosse – and Bryan's came more recently when Tufts University captured a Division III men's lacrosse national title, but the significance is still impressive.
Petillo, a junior this past year, only started a handful of games over the past three seasons and wasn't necessarily happy with his playing time, yet was still enamored by the Memorial Day weekend madness at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
"It's something you dream about as a little kid," he said, "to play that weekend in front of a huge crowd. We fought through a bunch of tough playoff games."
Knocking off Salisbury, SUNY Cortland and eventually Middlebury are no easy tasks, considering all three combined to win the last 11 National Championships.
The week prior to playing Middlebury, Tufts practiced at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. thanks to connections with the New England Patriots and the university.
In Maryland, the team, along with the others participating in the Divisions I and II national title games, were part of a fan fest at the Inner Harbor.
"It's just very big time compared to what we were used to," he said. "We're not one of the better known teams, so I think it was a lot of exposure for everyone."
At Sachem, Petillo never felt pressure while playing for his dad Rich, an assistant on the varsity lacrosse team at North. His uncle Tony was also a gifted athlete and well-respected coach at Sachem for many years. Being a part of the program's sports lore was important for him.
"It was something growing up as a kid that I always wanted to play for the varsity on the field under the lights," said Petillo, who graduated from North in 2007.
This was Tufts first national title in any sport, a momentous accomplishment to be a part of. What's next for Petillo? He has one more season of lacrosse left and is confident he can compete for a starting spot in net. If that doesn't work out, he is open to playing another position. Anything to hit that field hard one last time.
Check out Sachem Patch's stories about the players at C.W. Post and Adelphi who also won national titles on lacrosse.