Determined Danforth Earns Double Honor

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Jack Moeller, Sports Editor

Junior Shea Danforth has been named 2nd Team All-League in two high school sports, a remarkable achievement for someone who has struggled in the past to earn a position on his club squads.

A 3 year veteran of Campolindo soccer and lacrosse, Danforth said, “In both sports, I have tried out for teams, and have not made them. It’s about moving on.”

“For lacrosse, I tried out for a club team called 3D, and I didn’t make that team. For soccer, during my sophomore year, I tried out for a team called Diablo FC, and I didn’t make that team. But, both those years, I moved on, and I played with a different club team, and worked harder,” said Danforth.

According to athletic director Tom Renno, Danforth’s determination inspires his teammates around him. “I think that it is one of the greatest characteristics that a young leader can have, because every athlete has setbacks in their career. You have to be able to handle that, and people who look up to you have to see to see that, because when things do not go well, they will look up to you,” he said.

“I think that Shea is a great leader. He competes across many sports, and has a good perspective of what it takes to compete at a high level,” Renno said.

“I have been playing since I was in preschool, and that was when I lived in Marin. I’ve played ever since. I started playing LMYA [Lafayette Moraga Youth Association] in the 3rd grade, and then I went to Lamorinda [Soccer Club]. Right before high school, our Lamorinda fell apart, so I started playing Eclipse. Shane [Carney] has been my coach ever since,” Danforth said.

According to Renno, longevity is an essential element to athletic success. “It obviously helps with skill development. The longer you have played a sport, the longer you have been accustomed to the different skills and know what it takes to be successful,” he said.

Sophomore soccer teammate Matthew Ringquist agreed: “You have to start playing at a young age. It is really important to get the basic skills down when you are young, so that when you get older, you can build on those skills, and become a great player.”

Danforth thinks he has a responsibility to pass on his wisdom to the newer athletes on his squad. “At the high school level, you are going to have a bunch of kids that are freshmen and sophomores, and that do not have that much experience at the varsity level. I think that it is the upperclassmen’s job to motivate them, perform well in big games, and to not be scared of intimidation,” he said.

Ringquist said that Danforth’s personality makes him a great leader. “He’s funny. His stories are hilarious, and he’s just a cool guy to be around. He always brings everyone’s [spirits] up,” he said.

The soccer team finished with an overall record of 18-5-2 last season, and played in the North Coast Section (NCS) playoffs last year.  Danforth’s selection to the All-League Team was no doubt a result of his improved play and his leadership.

“I feel really happy for him. I know that he is happy about that, and I know next year he will get 1st Team [All-League], because he is a great player,” Ringquist said. “He has great soccer IQ. He knows were to pass the ball. He knows how to communicate and defend. He is a great overall player,” Rinquist added.

While he is a relative veteran in soccer, Danforth only started playing lacrosse recently. According to Danforth, this was because he quit baseball, but still wanted to play a spring sport.

Danforth said, “I started [playing lacrosse] when I realized that I was not that good at baseball. I switched to lacrosse, and it is a really fun sport to play. It’s really fast-paced. My dad was really into it, and we used to go into the backyard and play catch.”

According to Renno, most high school lacrosse players don’t discover the sport early on. “I think due to the physical nature of lacrosse, people tend to start that sport later, like tackle football. With that being said, the skills that he learned in soccer translate into lacrosse. Quick movements, agility, decisiveness, all transfer over to lacrosse,” he said.

Sophomore and fellow lacrosse teammate Ryan McCormick said that Danforth brings many of these skills to the team every day. “His adaptability on a play [makes him a strong player]. If someone is running straight at him, he can basically change directions in a split second. He uses his entire body to shoot, dodge, and score,” he said.

There were no seniors on the lacrosse team this year. As a result, Danforth and his junior teammates were tasked with providing a strong example for the underclassmen.

McCormick said that Danforth’s work ethic makes him an effective leader. “He is out there every single day practicing and giving directions. He does this while being friends with us too. He is basically like a second coach on the field,” he said.

“He is an awesome guy on and off the field. He is really cool about everything that he does. He brings confidence and security to the team,” McCormick added.

Sophomore teammate Kannah Cruickshank agreed: “He is really confident, and he plays with a lot of confidence. He is willing to help other people out if they are having issues and struggling.”

This season, the lacrosse team finished with a record of 10-6 overall, and 9-3 in DFAL play. The Cougars also managed to win an NCS playoff game.

Renno said that Danforth’s contributions have been vital. “Teams with strong leaders tend to do better as a team. They understand the rules and how to contribute to the team. At Campolindo, we have been so lucky to have many teams with strong leaders, so we are lucky to have people like Shea, who can contribute in a positive manner,” he said.

According to Cruickshank, Danforth’s consistency was the reason for his success. “He is a really reliable player, and he is really consistent. You always know that he is going to be in the right place at the right time,” he said.

“Obviously, it [winning 2nd Team All-League] shows that he has been recognized as one of the top players in the league. So going into your senior year, you would want to build off of that success. He will be looked at as a senior leader in both of these programs [soccer and lacrosse], and will continue to compete at a high level,” Renno said.