BHS Lacrosse: Bengal Boys Seek Return to Winning Form

The Blythewood Bengals lacrosse team is ready to start the 2013 season with one goal in mind, make a deep run in the state playoffs. The Bengals did not make the playoffs last season and lost in the first round in 2011 and 2010. First year head coach Kirk Thurston has a background deeply rooted in the game of lacrosse.

Thurston spent the last seven years assisting the girls’ team at Blythewood. He grew up in Baltimore and was two-sport athlete, receiving all-county honors in football and all-American honors in lacrosse. He ended up earning a full scholarship and played four years on the lacrosse team at the University of Maryland. His deep roots have spread to his daughters as well. Brittany Thurston is a varsity player at Blythewood High School and Kelsey Thurston is a sophomore player at Coastal Carolina. During her high school career, Kelsey was named South Carolina’s player of the year after leading the Lady Bengals to a state championship and a perfect 16-0 record.

Coach Thurston has 11 varsity players returning, including 10 starters and believes the Bengals are primed to get over the hump and find some post-season success.

“We will be much better than we were last year,” Thurston said. “Our defense will be solid.”

Seniors Will Jones, Quintrel Fulton and Travis Knight will anchor the defense. Seniors Ivan McFarland and Cody Phillips will roam the midfield and Thurston knows his midfield will be in good hands.

“Those guys (McFarland and Phillips) have good sticks and are well conditioned athletes,” Thurston said.

The attacking trio will be led by seniors Alexander “Ace” Epps and Hunter Whitfield, and junior Michael Carson. Epps was rezoned from Ridge View and is a natural lefty. Seniors Jake Cooper and Toby Kemp are interchangeable as either attackers or midfielders. Brent Dees, also a senior, will handle the face-offs for the Bengals. Thurston firmly believes that Lacrosse is more than just a game.

“It’s about character development and being involved with the community,” Thurston said.

The Bengals fell in their season opener on Feb. 21 to A.C. Flora. Blythewood got down 4-1 in the first quarter and lost the game 11-4. Epps scored a team high two goals on two shots. Blythewood played at Spring Valley this past Tuesday and will play in their home opener this Friday when they host Richland Northeast.