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All-Delco Boys Lacrosse: Garno’s standout season part of ongoing Haverford School lore

Haverford School's Peter Garno is the 2019 Daily Times boys lacrosse player of the year. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

HAVERFORD — Peter Garno was one of those kids. One of those in the lower and middle schools at Haverford School, behind the netting at Sabol Field during lacrosse games, watching and learning … and yeah, playing around a little.

For years, he was steeped in the traditions of the Fords program, picking up moves he could mimic and dreaming that one day he might be where some of those players he watched, All-Delcos like Sam Rohr and Drew Supinski and the long-stretching line of honorees back through the years.

“I would idolize those guys,” Garno said. “Obviously my goal going into high school was to try to be one of those guys. I grew up emulating their moves on this field and everything. To then pass that down to the younger generation, it’s just a weird, crazy feeling. It’s really cool.”

In time, at midfield in particular, the succession of Fords greats has become a trademark of the program. Dox Aitken, now at Virginia, is perhaps the standard-bearer. Supinski, first at Johns Hopkins and then Denver, is another.

Garno, who will follow Aitken’s footsteps from the Main Line to Virginia, is next in that storied lineage.

Haverford School’s Peter Garno, is harassed by Malvern Prep’s Bill Carini in a game from this season. Garno is the Daily Times Player of the Year in boys lacrosse. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

Garno emerged as the premier talent this season for the Fords, who made John Nostrant’s last season as a Fords coach a memorable one. For his 52 goals and all-around talent, Garno is the 2019 Daily Times Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year.

Joining him on the first team are Haverford School mates Mac Costin, Gavin Burke and Ryan Niggeman; Radnor attackman Jackson Birtwistle; Garnet Valley’s attacking pair of Jake Morin and Mitch Lachman plus goalie Nick Van Horn; Springfield’s Jack Spence and Pat Clemens; Strath Haven midfielder Ibo Pio and Episcopal Academy defender Collin Loughead.

Morin and Burke are two-time honorees, while Clemens makes his third squad. A loaded class of 2020 is well represented, with juniors Birtwistle, Morin, Lachman, Pio and Van Horn. The All-Delco team is selected in consultation with area coaches.

• • •

Exemplary as Haverford School lacrosse usually is, the Fords entered 2019 with question marks. News came down last summer that this would be Nostrant’s final season on the Main Line, with Brendan Dawson joining as an assistant/head coach in waiting. Also gone was Mark Petrone, the long-time offensive coordinator whom Garno credits for countless hours of intensive instruction.

READ: All-Delco Boys Lacrosse: Birtwistle, Morin had standout junior campaigns

Not only had so many of the Fords been drawn to Haverford by Nostrant, also a long-time athletic director with a pavilion at the school named in his honor. But the final schedule Nostrant assembled seemed to have a little something extra to prove, whether against the national slate of foes that is the default or local contests lined up against Radnor and Garnet Valley to stamp out local dominance.

“That was probably one of our biggest motivations,” Garno said. “He continuously harped on the fact that it wasn’t about him and it was about us, but behind the scenes, that was kind of a piece of motivation we used a lot to get everyone going. Obviously it meant a ton for all the people, 28 years of teams coached is really cool, and it’s special to be part of the final one.”

The group that would wear the moniker as Nostrant’s last was talented but not rigorously tested. The likes of Garno, Costin and Adam Salvaggio have been consistent contributors for several years as reserves or depth-line middies. But never until this year had they been called on to be stars, always buffeted by past veterans like TJ Malone, Tommy McNamara and Johnny Nostrant.

That waiting and learning paid off.

“There’s always someone ahead of you, and it makes it more competitive and it really teaches you how to play the right game,” Garno said. “Freshman, sophomore, junior year, you kind of have to take a little bit of a seat to a senior, but you’re learning how to play the right way, and then when it is your turn, you know what to do.”

READ: The full list of All-Delco honorees

The results read like a ranking of the elite national programs: A win over Boys Latin, an overtime win over St. Stephen’s St. Agnes, a drubbing of eventual PIAA Class 3A champ La Salle, losses to Culver Academy and Salisbury School. In late April, after beating national powerhouse IMG Academy, the Fords went to Long Island for the GEICO Showcase. They beat New York’s Ward Melville, 6-5, on a last-minute Costin goal, then bested Massachusetts’ Lincoln Sudbury, both games televised on ESPNU.

“That was one of those games — we came back for prom that night, so we had a bus ride right after — that if we lose that game, everyone would’ve been heads down, sulking; it would’ve crushed us,” Garno said of Ward Melville, a game where he tallied a hat trick. “But to win that game, everyone was going nuts on the bus, excited, energy was unreal. I think that really propelled us through for the rest of the season.”

All told, the Fords played teams from eight states plus Canada. They won 17 games, went 5-0 in the Inter-Ac and only lost the Inter-Ac tournament final in double-overtime against Malvern Prep, a game where Garno scored five times.

Garno solidified his reputation as one of the top midfield snipers in his class. He blistered IMG for seven goals and Garnet Valley and Episcopal Academy for four each.

That return reinforces what scouts have long seen in Garno. The UVA signee is ranked by Inside Lacrosse as the 35th-best prospect in the class of 2019 and fifth-best midfielders. He joins the reigning national champs, a generation led back to prominence by another Fords Player of the Year in Aitken and features a slew of locals — including Garnet Valley four-time All-Delco Matt Moore, Strath Haven Player of the Year Jeff Conner and Penn Charter FOGO Gavin Tygh, the fourth-ranked prospect in 2019.

It makes for an exciting time for Garno.

“It’s going to be awesome,” he said. “The energy is going to be unreal, and now to kind of have some sort of guidelines for how to win and what the magic key is, I think this year is going to be really special and really amazing and I’m really looking forward to it.”



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