CAPE ELIZABETH — The Thorecks were born to be Capers. To carry on a tradition that stretches back to when their father was sprinting across lacrosse fields at the dawning of a dynasty.
The next chapter will be written Saturday. Griffin, Connor and Owen Thoreck will don their Cape Elizabeth uniforms, pick up their sticks and step onto the steamy Fitzpatrick Stadium turf to tangle with Yarmouth for the Class B state championship.
The Capers won that matchup 7-4 a year ago to claim their 17th state title. This will be the seventh time in the past 12 years that Cape Elizabeth has faced Yarmouth for a boys’ lacrosse championship.
This is history, but it lives in the present through families like the Thorecks.
“You get the idea pretty early on. Once you get into third- and fourth-grade lacrosse you’re getting ready to play in high school,” said Griffin Thoreck, a junior midfielder who scored four goals Wednesday to help the Capers oust Falmouth in the Western Maine final.
“We got sticks, I don’t even remember when. I’ve always had one.”
Jeff Thoreck played at Cape Elizabeth in the 1980s, when the Capers had to play club teams just to find opposition in Maine. He later coached at his alma mater and is now the athletic director.
Ben Raymond played alongside Thoreck, graduating from Cape Elizabeth in 1988. He is now the coach. His players include three sons of his former teammate. Connor and Owen are freshmen twins.
This is the way it works in Cape Elizabeth.
“They all came to games and saw the older kids, and they just wanted to be a part of it. And now they come back and coach the youths,” Raymond said.
“Everyone gets involved. That’s one of the things we’ve always had is the better athletes playing lacrosse.”
Griffin Thoreck is a perfect example. He is fast and physical. And he is a student of the game.
“He works at lacrosse all the time. He continues to think, not so much about how he can get better but how the team can get better,” Raymond said.
He is tutoring his younger brothers as well these days. Connor is a midfielder with more of a defensive role. Owen plays attack. He also scored a pair of goals against Falmouth.
“At times I can be a little hard on them. It’s hard not to be, being so comfortable being stern with them,” Griffin said. “They may argue with each other and I’ll have to tell them to knock it off. If they throw a bad ball and start freaking out, I’ll have to tell them to relax, and that they’re young and still learning.”
The twins say such moments only happen in practices. In games they’re growing more confident in their roles. They remember watching Cape Elizabeth lacrosse games their entire lives, including last year’s title match. They have long pictured themselves eventually taking the field.
Now, to get that chance in a state championship game against rival Yarmouth?
“It’s going to be great,” Connor said. “I’m going to be a little nervous, sure, but I’m not scared.”
Owen said having that connection with his older brother is a comfort.
“I always know where he’s going to be and we find each other. Once the game gets going, it just comes naturally,” he said.
Raymond said the undefeated Capers also have gotten contributions from many other players not named Thoreck. James Monroe-Chause has become a faceoff ace that the program hasn’t always had. Sophomore Alex Narvaez has been a godsend in goal.
But winning titles is infinitely harder these days, Raymond admitted. There are more good players than ever.
“It forces us to improve and evolve, and not just do the same thing every single day,” Raymond said. “We’re continuing to change our offense and defense based on what is out there, and what’s happening around the state and around the country. The goal is to prepare them to go on to play in college if that’s what they desire.”