San Juan Dragons' Dayton and Mehrer named to pre-season All-State teams | Lacrosse
March 15, 2010 · Updated 6:58 PM
San Juan Dragons goalie Calen Mehrer and attackman Forest Dayton have been named to the Division II Pre-Season All-State Team, Washington State Boys Lacrosse Association.
Mehrer was one of 12 players named to the All-State First Team. Dayton was one of 12 players named to the Second Team.
It's a good start to the Dragons' season — and perhaps a forecast of what's to come.
Coach Rob Cuomo is 13-9 conference, 13-11 overall, with two playoff appearances in two seasons. The Dragons finished the 2009 season with their best record ever, 8-4, and tied for second in the Skagit Conference.
Dayton, a senior this year, was the seventh-leading scorer in the four-conference, 28-team Division II. During the regular season, he had 38 goals and 14 assists, as well as 58 ground balls.
Mehrer, also a senior this year, was one of the best goalies in Division II. He had 125 saves of 198 shots, for a save percentage of .631.
"Next year is going to be the brightest year for the Dragons," four-year attackman Isaac Taylor predicted at the end of the 2009 season, before departing for commercial diving school at Louisiana Technical College. "They're only going to be losing four guys (to graduation). The junior class is where the power is."
Those juniors are seniors this year — there are 14 seniors, backed by the largest roster ever fielded by the Dragons. In fact, Cuomo said he could have fielded a middle-school team if he had the coaching help.
Division II, which consists of 29 teams in six conferences, is taking notice of San Juan. "The Dragons have 14 seniors on the roster this year including middie Forest Dayton, who is sure to have another great year," the association wrote in its Division II preview. "The Dragons have arguably the best goalie in the state as well, in senior Calen Mehrer."
Cuomo said of Dayton and Mehrer, "They're definitely our two leaders. They have been since I've been coach. At the goal, Calen is our defensive leader. At attack, Forest is our offensive leader. There's no reason why they shouldn't be first-team All-State players."
Mehrer is co-captain of the team; the others are Ryan Guard and Brady Sundberg.
The Dragons test their mettle March 13-14 at a jamboree at Whatcom Community College. They will play three short games for seeding on Saturday and, if they do well enough, will advance to the semi-finals Sunday.
Conference play begins March 19, 6 p.m., at Lynnwood. The Dragons' first home game is March 20, 7:30 p.m., vs. Skagit Valley. The Dragons have a 13-game schedule, with six games at home.
Eager to practice, play
March 10 at Foxhall Field, the team's eagerness level was comparable to that of a rodeo horse waiting to be let out of the pen. Practice didn't start until 4:30 p.m., but at 3:45 p.m. several players were already on the field. Former Dragon middie Connor Johns, home on break from Carroll College in Helena, Mont., paced the field with his stick from seasons past, looking part-assistant coach and part-wanting to get into a pickup game. Coach Cuomo endured a reporter's questions, then asked Johns to take his place so he could fire shots at Mehrer.
"It's rough," Johns said of not playing the game this year. "Last season was a lot of fun. Hopefully, they'll be more successful this year." (Incidentally, Johns had nine goals, four assists and 61 ground balls in 12 games last year.)
Cuomo said this is the Dragons' year.
"We lose half the team this year," he said of the number of seniors that will leave the team after graduation. "The team is a lot more motivated because a lot of these guys aren't going to play organized lacrosse again." He added, "They've been playing together for four years. They've learned what I expect, and I've learned what they can do."