By Mike Salerno
LILacrosseNews.com, Posted 11/13/11
Shoreham-Wading River boys’ lacrosse coach Tom Rotanz was happy to join a tournament stocked with some of Long Island’s best teams.
The fact that the day helped raise awareness for autism and secure additional student volunteers to help raise money for autism (including almost $5,000 in donations and pledges prior to the tournament from those touched by the Syosset Booster Club hosting the tournament) turned a good day on the sidelines into a great one.
The Syosset Booster Club hosted the “Battle of the Counties” tournament on Saturday, inviting 10 of the top varsity teams from Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as 10 JV squad. One of the varsity powers was Shoreham-Wading River, which boasts one of most dynamic players in the country in junior Tim Rotanz, Tom’s son.
“We used to travel to Rutgers or here or there,” said the Wildcats head coach. “We were wondering why we travel that far when we’ve got great talent right here? Syosset, the parents and booster club does a great job. You can come play great talent and help out a great cause. It’s a win-win.”
Tim Rotanz, who led all of Long Island in goals (68) and points (110) as just a sophomore last season and has committed to play at Maryland, also reflected on the tournament’s importance, away from the field.
“It’s really good to get the awareness out, just having everyone know how important it is and to raise money for autism,” he said.
The Wildcats certainly benefited from an unusually high level of competition for November. They’ll pull from the experience gained Saturday in their quest to repeat as Suffolk County champions.
“It’s kind of like a pre-preseason,” said the elder Rotanz. “We get a chance to try some guys in different spots and work out the kinks, get the jitters out and hopefully the younger players aren’t as nervous when we get into the spring.”
For a day, however, the focus was less on capturing the school’s first state title since 2007 and more about the fight for awareness.
“I’ve been teaching for 27 years,” Rotanz said. “I’ve always had at least one inclusion class. This year in one class we have four children with autism. It’s a great cause, and there’s a lot of work to be done.”