Lacrosse wasn’t too popular at Megna’s high school but he was able to find success. “I went to William Floyd and it wasn’t a big sport in the early 90s there but a lot of the athletes played in the spring,” Megna said. “In 10th grade, I went out for varsity, I used to play around with my friends at the beach. I made and started on varsity my first year as a sophomore and took it from there.”
Megna didn’t plan on playing in college at LIU Southhampton but he found his way on the lacrosse field anyway. “I went to college on a soccer scholarship,” Megna said. “I was asked by the lacrosse coach to come out and play and then they split my scholarship and I did both for the rest of my career.”
Before he was out of school, Megna had already begun his coaching journey and it wasn’t long before he moved into the high school ranks. “I did a year [at LIU Southmpton], as a grad assist,” Megna said. “My head coach, who was Ralph Pepe, left Southampton and became the head coach at Westhampton High School and I went with him.” From there, Megna became an assistant at his alma mater, William Floyd, and, eventually, the head coach.
Megna remembers the big-time coaches he battled on the opposing sidelines. “Myself and my assistant coach, Pat Miller, were brand new on the varsity level as head guys,” Megna said. “When you’re coaching in Suffolk County, you’re coaching against legends, guys who had coached against us in high school or coached against us in college. I remember that being exciting. When we were playing a team coached by Mike Hoppey or Scott Craig or Pete Mitchell, in the beginning, we were a little starstruck.”
Megna was part of the Long Island Showcase from the beginning and stayed on when it became the New York State Regional Championship. “We had always wanted to transition into a statewide tournament,” Megna said. “We thought that we had a great formula. Our college coach attendance was outstanding and our college coach feedback was and is still, outstanding. We’re one of the only showcases, if not the only showcase around, that doesn’t pay the college coaches to show up, they just show up because of the talent level on Long Island.”
This year, Megna is excited to see the event continue to grow. “For the health of the event, I like when the other regions do well and I like when they’re excited and pumped up,” Megna said. “I think for the health and growth of the overall event, that’s important. I love when Suffolk goes out and dominates because it’s a solid representation of where I’m from and where I coach but in the spirit of the growth of the event, I do enjoy a solid team from another region coming through and having success because it will only build that region and then, hopefully, other regions will get a little jealous and want to come back.”
Mauro started playing lacrosse from an early age and eventually played high school lacrosse at Sachem. Right out of college, he began to coach. “I was the varsity head coach at Sachem High School from 2005 to 2015 and I was the volunteer assistant at Stony Brook University from 2016 to 2018,” Mauro said. “In 2019, I was the defensive coordinator at Half-Hallow Hills East and then, last year, I came back to Sachem; Sachem North.”
During his career, Mauro has had his share of moments but it’s the relationships that he remembers best. “We won a share of the American East title in 2018, that was cool,” Mauro said. “[I] went to the final four a couple of times with Sachem North, we beat West Islip when they were number one in the country in 2010 or 2011 and went on an 11-game winning streak in 2014, that was fun. The interaction with all the kids, coaching them and the relationships, that’s what it’s all about.
A director of the Long Island Showcase, the New York State Regional Championship turned into the next challenge for Mauro. This year, he’s looking forward to continuing to build the tournament. “Hopefully we can continue to turn into what we had with the Empire State Games,” Mauro said. “I played in it, I was an assistant coach and a head coach so trying to bring that back would be cool. Seeing the kids from the different regions and competing and they develop relationships, all that kind of stuff is cool.”