High school lacrosse player suspended after punch
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A high school lacrosse player has been suspended after he struck another player during a heated playoff game.
With a minute left in the third quarter, St. Thomas Aquinas was down 15-5 in the regional final against St. Andrews in Fort Lauderdale, Tuesday night. St. Thomas defender Jake Champion lost his cool, and hit an opposing player on the field, so officials ejected him.
Making matters worse, a YouTube video showed Champion as he sucker punched St. Andrews star player Jordan Todd while walking off the field. Todd laid down on the turf for nearly 30 seconds before he got up.
Wednesday morning students reacted to the news. Katherine Borrelli, a St. Thomas Aquinas student, said Champion's outburst had to do with a bad temper. "I know him personally," she said, "and I've had problems with him before. He's just not a nice person."
Tara Hannon, another student, said, "I was there, and I know Jake hit someone earlier in the game, and he got ejected from it, and he was angry and he just took it out on another team."
Kyle Schroeder, also knows the lacrosse player. "Jake Champion was walking off the field and the kid just got out of the way, so he just took him out," he said.
St. Thomas' athletic director George Smith was not pleased with Champion's actions. "Poor sportsmanship is unacceptable of our students, athletes and parents. The student has been suspended from school for the remainder of the week, pending further disciplinary action by the Administrative Council," he said, "and once again we apologize for the incident."
Hannon said, "He got what he deserved punishment-wise, but it's not excusable. It's not OK."
Champion has since been suspended from school. He has also been suspended by the Florida High School Athletic Association, and he may face more disciplinary action.
Todd issued the statement about the incident: "I need to concentrate on my school work and stay focused on winning States. It's not about me, it's about finishing strong and being a dedicated Captain and leading my team to victory."
(Copyright 2012 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)