The Poway lacrosse team is coming off a CIF San Diego Open Division title, and coach Zack Burke believes the Titans will have a roster capable of doing it again — if everyone stays focused.
In this offseason check-in, Burke shared some insight into how his team looks and how the Titans are preparing to defend the title after losing only one senior to graduation last spring.
What is the current state of your program?
We are currently peaking as a program.
How does it look relative to previous years?
We have four solid classes full of players for the first time since I have been at Poway (four years).
Have you improved; are you rebuilding?
We have improved. We won the CIF Championship in 2015 and graduated one senior defender. Everyone else is back.
What is your team’s central philosophy?
Our central philosophy is for our players to focus on their role and the moment. We understand things may not go as planned and everyone may not play their best on every play. Whatever happens, we expect our players to keep their minds focused on the moment at hand, not what happened 10 minutes ago or what might happen in the future. So basically, do your job; stay focused on the moment!
Who are some of your key returners? Who are you going to rely on?
Jake Fiske is always a big contributor for us. He is all over the field — on the wings, on man up, on man down and he is very dangerous in transition as well. Nick Beeson and Zach Hodge lead the midfield in scoring and will demand a longstick from the other team. Cole Landolt is the quarterback of the team from X and led the team in scoring last year.
Are there any newcomers fans should look out for? Will any freshmen make a significant impact?
We started four freshmen in the championship game last year. We were young then, but not anymore.
What are some goals you have for the season? Championship, or building talent?
Right now our goal is to really excel in the weight room. We committed to working out as a team three days a week last year, and it paid off. We want to be strong across the board. If we do a good job in the offseason, we will have a good chance to compete for a championship again.
Do you foresee any major challenges? What do you think will be a major hurdle for your team?
Winning one championship is tough, winning two in a row is harder. A lot of these guys have been contributing in this program for a long time. The great thing about starting freshman three years in a row is that they have a lot of experience and have seen a lot over the last few years. Our team needs to stay focused on one practice and one game at a time, not get caught up in the end result of the season. We know that we will get everyone’s best game when we play them. We know everyone is gunning for us. I don’t think this group would want it any other way.
Who do you think will be some of the other top teams in the county?
I would say the usual suspects — Torrey Pines, Coronado, LCC, Cathedral and Bishops. All of those programs have a lot of talent, and we will certainly not be taking them lightly.
Who are you scared of?
Does not apply.