The 100-goal club is elite company for high school lacrosse players.
Last week, a new member was added to this exclusive group. Shawnee High School senior №16 Mike Githens reached triple digit career goals in a tough 6–5 loss to Haddonfield Memorial High School.
While he said he would have rather the milestone come in a win, Githens couldn’t deny how special the moment was being able to celebrate it with his teammates on his home field, one he has certainly grown quite accustomed to, having played on it at the varsity level for the last four years.
“One hundred goals kind of shows people how long I’ve been playing as a varsity player,” Githens said.
“That’s a huge thing,” Head Coach Erik Stilley said. “Each year you have one, maybe two freshmen who are able to play at that varsity level right away. You build around a guy like that.”
Stilley has been the head coach of the team for the past three years and was a volunteer coach with the Renegades for two years prior to that. He said he has a special relationship with Githens, coming into the program as a coach with him and being one of the first kids he will get to see off to the next level.
Githens is committed to Lynchburg College where he will continue to build on his highly decorated career. He credited Shawnee’s lacrosse and football programs for getting him ready for the next level and preparing him to succeed in college.
“Both programs really molded me,” he said.
Both programs have also gotten him accustomed to a winning tradition, as he will be bringing multiple NJSIAA South Jersey Championships with him to college. His most recent championship came last year when Shawnee defeated Moorestown High School by a score of 8–7.
After having some key pieces from that team graduate, this year’s youthful group certainly has its work cut out.
“There’s a lot of pressure to step it up and lead these guys, specifically on me having played on the team the longest,” Githens said.
However, Stilley didn’t view this pressure as anything new for this consistently competitive group.
Having played at Shawnee when he was in high school, Stilley knows all about the winning tradition that comes with putting on the Renegade uniform and how each opposing team always gives them their best shot.
Though he acknowledged the bumps in the road that come along with having a young team, Stilley is pleased with the direction of his group and counts on Githens and the rest of the seniors to raise everyone’s level of play.
“If you’re in a foxhole and you had to pick a certain type of guy you’d want right next to you, Mike’s that kind of guy,” Stilley said. “We know without a doubt he’s going to leave it all on the field every single day. You’re never going to say Mike Githens didn’t try hard.”
The team tries to embody this attitude by wearing a logo on the back of their helmets that reads “one goal” and by breaking each huddle on this mantra.
“We play one goal at a time, never focusing on the end result,” he said.