Jun. 19—Oak Hill junior attacker Tiger Hopkins appreciates and takes pride in being recently named an All-American, but there is another holy grail that he has been pursing — the Class C boys lacrosse crown.
The Oak Hill/Monmouth/Lisbon (13-0) team takes on Waynflete (13-1) in the state final at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
"All-American is nice, but it doesn't really mean anything unless you win the state title," Hopkins said. "I much rather have the (state title)."
"He's an All-American for a reason. He's the best player on the team," fellow teammate Caleb Richard said.
Richard's father and Oak Hill assistant coach Chad Richard weighs in: "(Hopkins) demands greatness."
Hopkins also points out that his coaches and teammates had a lot to do with his All-American accolade, which was presented to him by the Maine Lacrosse Coaches Association.
"... I have people surrounding me and helping me get better at lacrosse," he said. "I think with my teammates and coaches over the years, I like to think that I've really worked hard and definitely deserved it."
Another Raiders attacker, Riley Worth, also earned All-American Academic honors.
"It feels good," Worth said. "It is kind of a culmination of what I feel I have been doing for my entire life. Sports and school have always been a big part of what I do, and just to be recognized for doing well in both of those (is an honor).
"Obviously, congratulations to Tiger as well for his All-American (award). That's incredible. But as far my award goes, all those hours studying as well as all the hours in the backyard playing lacrosse against the wall paid off at the end."
Oak Hill coach Joe Hinkley has been lobbying for Hopkin's nomination for All-American since the attacker was a freshman.
"But this year was the first year I felt I could put him up for it for his numbers he put up," Hinkley said.
The coach added that getting the award as a junior is quite an accomplishment for Hopkins. "This is Oak Hill's second All-American. The last one was in 1993," Hinkley said. "His name was Jeremy Trainor."
In last week's quarterfinal win over St. Dom's, Hopkins scored his 99th point of the season, surpassing Trainor as the school's single-season scoring leader. Trainor finished with 98 points in 1993.
Hinkley said the award is a big deal in so many ways for any high school athlete.
"It was important because he definitely worked his tail off for us," Hinkley said. "He is always trying to better himself.
"... I really think it puts him in the next level, next category. It puts him higher on the block for a bigger college ... I think it helps with the college aspect of any sport — particularly lacrosse."
Hinkley said that Hopkins' dedication to the sport off the field is what makes him a top-notch competitor. Hinkley said that coaches get together and they each make a one-minute presentation to make their case for their athletes.
"I put out there what needed to be said to the other coaches, and apparently what I said to the other coaches about him worked to get him on," Hinkley said.
Hinkley is also proud of Worth for collecting the All-American academic award.
"I think that's huge award because it shows that you are not only a good lacrosse player, but you are also good at school," Hinkley said. "I think it is an accomplishment to play sports for four years and become a No. 1 in your class."
Hinkley added that it is a "cool thing" to have two All-Americans on a team hoping to snatch the Class C crown on Saturday.
Hopkins said Hinkley goes above and beyond his job description as a lacrosse coach.
"I definitely appreciate (Hinkley)," Hopkins said. "He is a good coach and he does a lot of little things ... like running a fishing derby and raising a lot of money for Oak Hill sports. He does a lot of extra stuff that nobody knows about."