Four years ago, as a Cold Spring Harbor eighth grader, Brendan Bouchard sat in the stands of the 2006 New York State Class "C" Championship game at Stony Brook University with his father and watched his future high school beat Christian Brothers Academy.
As he watched guys like Adam Ghitelman, Chris Schuville and Corey Winkoff carry Seahawks to their first-ever state championship, he knew one day, he wanted to be a part of something like that.
"Sitting at that game and watching guys like Ghitelman and all the others, really put it in perspective of what lacrosse can do," he said. "It was great to just be around that all the time and watch those guys play."
And now, as a senior attack man he was just named All-County for his success on the field during the 2010 season.
"Going from last year and not even starting and being the fourth attackmen to working my ass off over the summer and being the leading goal scorer, it feels great to get that award," he said.
For Bouchard, the sport of lacrosse has always been in his family. His father, Morty, played lacrosse at Ohio Wesleyan University and was also a coach for Brendan's brother growing up in the town of Cold Spring Harbor. As a young kid, he would often sit and watch the practices and games and knew he wanted to be like the guys who went on to win the '06 State Championship. But it never came easy for Bouchard.
Unlike most standout high school players, Bouchard didn't make the varsity team at Cold Spring Harbor High School until 11th grade and didn't start until his senior year. The strides Bouchard made in his game from the 2009 season to 2010 season are exceptional. He saw his goal total go from eight to 28 and he became a leader of the Seahawk offense. With younger players like junior Jack Wallice and sophomore Sean Doyle around him, Bouchard led by example. He turned into the type of player that was trustworthy, one a coach could rely on to not make mistakes and work hard on every play.
The 2010 season saw the Seahawks go 15-2 and lose to rival Manhasset High School in the county championship. Bouchard went on to lead the team in goals and points and became a quarterback of the Seahawk offense. "He's a great rider and a great groundball player," head coach Dennis Bonn said of Bouchard, who broke his elbow in the fall playing football for Bonn and the Seahawks. "Coming back from the injury and seeing what he did on the field this year was great. He worked hard in the off season and knew he wanted to be a starter."
"Brendan is the epitome of hard work," midfielder and fellow senior Christian Kennedy said of Bouchard. Kennedy mentioned Bouchard as well as some of the other seniors on the team as guys who "did everything they could to win the second they stepped on the field."
Bonn did mention that the time Bouchard saw on the field last season helped in the maturation process and gave Bouchard a glimpse of what it was like to be a starter. "He realized that he wanted to step into that starter role this year. He put in the time and ran with the opportunity to play."
Bouchard credits a lot of his success at the high school level to Seahawks assistant coach John Campbell. Campbell would spend time with Bouchard during and after practice and helped him get to where he is today. "Coach Campbell definitely helped me out a lot," said Bouchard, who is headed to Bryant University in September to pursue his lacrosse dreams. "He spent a lot of time with me after practice going over the plays and going over the offense, especially after last season where I wasn't playing that much."
Although the season came to an unfortunate end, a 7-5 loss at the hands of Manhasset, in the playoffs, the future is bright for the 6'0" righty. At Bryant, Bouchard will get the chance to fine-tune his game under the watch of Mike Pressler, a coach who took the Duke lacrosse program from the bottom to the top and the current coach of Team USA for the World Lacrosse Championship's in Manchester, England. Bouchard knows he has to work much harder but is also excited for the challenge that lies ahead.
Maybe one day some kid will say 'I remember watching Brendan Bouchard play in the county championship game at Hofstra University.'
As for Bouchard, he is just living the dream.