From the time Anthony Caporuscio first stepped on the lacrosse field, he has been taking aim at higher levels of competition.
In the Mountain Top Area Lacrosse Association that his father, Aaron, got started, Caporuscio played against older players from Day One.
Once he arrived on the high school level, Caporuscio not only moved right into the lineup with older players, he became the leader as the Comets attained levels previously out of reach for Wyoming Valley Conference lacrosse teams.
In each of his first two high school seasons, Caporuscio was the leading scorer on the teams that produced the only two PIAA boys lacrosse state tournament victories ever by a Luzerne County school.
As the conference’s top offensive force and the leader of the WVC Division 1 and District 2 Class 2A championship teams, Caporuscio is the Times Leader Player of the Year.
“I have great teammates on Crestwood and I’m really grateful to be on that team,” Caporuscio said. “If I was on another team, it wouldn’t be the same. It’s really the teammates and the coaches that help you be successful.”
As the sport was arriving in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Caporuscio had a little head start with the help of his family.
Aaron grew up in the Syracuse area, one of lacrosse’s hotbeds, and played at the University of Albany.
Anthony was in kindergarten when MALAXA was getting started, playing weekly on various age levels against the only available competition, a Scranton youth program. He kept up just fine with the Under-9 players, the program’s youngest age group, and by the time he was 7, it was time to play U-11.
“I was always playing with older kids,” Caporuscio said. “My dad always tried to challenge me by having me play with older teams.
“That definitely helped me and made me the player I am now.”
Lacrosse became more interesting for Caporuscio as more teams joined in, creating variety among age group opponents. Now on the high-school level, he is a force in a 10-team league, going against some of the same players he joins on the Zombies travel team.
While Crestwood and the rest of District 2 is trying to gain ground on parts of the state that have had lacrosse longer, state lacrosse players collectively are trying to catch up with other parts of the northeast where the sport is more engrained.
Caporuscio, fellow repeat all-star John Betzko from Dallas and Wyoming Area’s Dominic DeLuca and Jake Switzer are all part of Team Pennsylvania, which won its first title ever at the 11th annual Maverik National Lacrosse Classic in July in Dover, Del. That title earned the foursome a chance to play with the same Keystone teammates while wearing the Team USA uniform in a game against Canada in December in Florida.
Whether he is preparing for national or international competition, trying to stay on top in District 2 or chasing down Pennsylvania’s top high school teams, Caporuscio said he “still gets butterflies before every game.”
And, the work on his game continues.
“I have to get quicker feet, so I’m definitely working on that,” Caporuscio said. “And my shooting game, I’m always working on.
“It’s really everything. There’s no facet of the game I’m completely satisfied with.”
Skill development takes place at practice and strategy adjustments have evolved in game play as Caporuscio has gotten accustomed to being a marked man on the field.
“A lot of times when a player gets three or four goals in a game, they start to double-team him which leaves someone else open,” Caporuscio said. “A lot of times coaches will notice that and work it into some of the plays we run and we’ll find the open guy.
“It’s all about working with that double team and finding your open guy.”
After scoring 79 goals and assisting on 47 as a freshman, Caporuscio pumped those numbers up in 2018. He finished with 126 goals, 69 assists, 55 groundballs and 12 caused turnovers.
Caporuscio passed both the 100- and 200-goal career milestones during his award-winning sophomore season. The 16-year-old Mountain Top resident has what for him is an uncommon opportunity ahead for the rest of his high school career, the chance to play two seasons against players essentially his own age.
For Caporuscio, the game that he started in kindergarten keeps changing – and presenting new challenges.
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