Manhasset lacrosse seniors raise $12K for foundations in honor of fallen alumni

Manhasset lacrosse seniors raise $12K for foundations in honor of fallen alumni
The Manhasset Boys Lacrosse team in 2022. (Photo courtesy of Kristin Perfetto)

Fresh off a state championship last year, three current Manhasset seniors said they try to emulate the leadership of three alumni who died in a tragic car accident exemplified on and off the lacrosse field.

“None of us got the chance to play with them, unfortunately, but conditioning during practice and knowing that those guys can’t do that anymore lights a fire in us and pushes us to keep going,” senior Jack Petersen told Blank Slate Media.

Brothers Michael and James Farrell and Ryan Kiess were among five people who died in a two-car collision on the Montauk Highway in July 2021.

In their memory, the team raised more than $12,000 for a pair of foundations in their honor by selling t-shirts with their numbers 4, 32 and 44 on the side.

The funds will go to The Farrell Boy Foundation, which raises money for scholarships and educational purposes and the Ryan Kiess Memorial Fund, also used for scholarships and other community-based events. Sporting those numbers sets a standard for upperclassmen to uphold and for underclassmen to strive for, Senior James Lapina said.

“A lot of younger kids look up to you now and they also strive to get those numbers,” Lapina said. “It’s a lot of leadership that comes along with those numbers. Motivating younger kids who will be here going forward is really good for the team.”

“You have to lead by example when you wear those numbers and do everything right,” Senior Aidan Haggerty said.

Being a responsible member of a team, a school and a community, Petersen said, is an obligation he and his fellow seniors have welcomed and want to set a good example for younger players.

“This helps build a little platform for us to show the kids how to live and make the right choices in and out of school and in and out of sports,” he said.

Justin Mendez, 22, of Brookhaven, slammed into the Uber last year at 86 MPH on a curve of the Montauk Highway on July 24, Quogue police said in a press release. His speed just 3 ½ seconds before the head-on crash was 106 MPH, police said, citing data that the New York State Police recovered from the black box in Mendez’s Nissan Maxima.

At a press conference days after the crash, Quogue Chief of Police Christopher Isola said an officer spotted Mendez before the accident, but could not catch up to him. The witness described to the police a similar chain of events.

Clergy estimates some 5,000 mourners attended the wake and funeral of the Farrell brothers. Similar crowds supported the Kiess family, and multiple police departments escorted all three men to their final resting place at Nassau Knolls Cemetery in Port Washington.

Days after the crash in Quogue, bands of blue and orange, the Manhasset school colors, wrapped around nearly all the neighborhood’s trees, traffic poles and street signs in their memory.

At Manhasset Al Fresco, a moment of silence was held, followed by businesses like Villa Milano donating an evening’s sales to the GoFundMe pages of victims, according to official Facebook posts.

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