Honors for pair of Wolves

By Wendi Reardon Price
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Blake Berry and Tyler Cray, two recent Clarkston High School graduates, received top honors from USA Lacrosse.
Berry was named All-American, which according to USA Lacrosse is a player who exhibits superior skills and techniques and possesses exceptional game sense and knowledge. Also, the player is one of the best player within their respective area of the country, while also embodying excellent sportsmanship.
“It’s great,” he said about the honor. “I have worked so hard and it just feels great.”
He found out early one morning when he received a phone call from Clarkston Boys Varsity Boys Lacrosse Head Coach Brian Kaminskas.
“I was shocked,” Berry said, sharing his initial reaction. “I really had no idea. It was just an honor.”
“I think it’s the right call by U.S. Lacrosse,” said Kaminskas. “Blake clearly, statistically speaking, one of the top guys in the state if not the Midwest in his face off percentage, his ability to play and score goals. I think it was an easy call for them.”

Blake Berry. File photo: Wendi Reardon Price

Cray was named USA Lacrosse All-Academic, which is a player who exhibits exemplary lacrosse skills, good sportsmanship on the field, and represents high standards of academic achievement in the classroom.
“It reflects all the work I put in over the season,” Cray said. “It means a lot but shows all the hard work.”
He shared he also received an early morning phone call from Kaminskas and Cray was “pretty excited” when he heard the news.
“It’s a pretty neat award to have,” Kaminskas said. “Not just excellence on the field because that plays a huge part in it, obviously, but also off the field. With his grades and test scores that’s what gets it done there. You are talking about a guy who put in a lot of work both on and off the field.”
Kaminskas added the process begins with a nomination process, in which he nominated both Berry and Cray.
“Then, that goes in front of a number of committees,” he continued. “It goes in front of two different coach committees on the state level. Then, it goes through a committee or a selection group from the national level as well. From those three groups, the grouping gets whittled down.”
They can be nominated by anybody but I am the one that did it. They don’t typically nominate if they can’t make it through the first or second round.
Both shared their coaches and teammates have helped them a lot on their lacrosse journey.
“Coach K has always been a great supporter for me even in my lowest moments,” said Berry. “My team pushing me in all aspects of my game.”
“Clarkston is a pretty good program,” Cray said. “I have good coaches all throughout. Then, this year especially, I had an offensive coach who helped me in the off season. I improved a lot from the surrounding players, too with all the competition.”

Tyler Cray. File photo: Wendi Reardon Price

He added it was his goal to improve during the off season between his junior and senior years. He had received more playing time at the end of his junior year and wanted to continue it.
Berry started playing lacrosse in third grade and enjoyed the program.
“I have been playing with the same group of 10-12 guys since I was between 8-to-9-years-old. I loved it from the very beginning,” he said.
Cray began playing lacrosse in sixth grade.
“I just like the fast pace of the game,” he said. “There is always action going on.”
Both finished their Clarkston Lacrosse career this season as the team finished in the MHSAA Division 1 Boys Lacrosse Semifinal for a Final Four finish and with an overall 19-3 record.
“At the start of the year a lot of the seniors and the captains we were skeptical about how the season would go losing so many seniors last year,” Berry shared. “We thought it was going to be one of our worst seasons of recent history. But I think the younger guys and us just stepped up We had a great year. We were all surprised. At the end of the year, we just worked for it. It was great.“
Cray added he was pretty happy with how the senior year went.
“Before the season we were kind of unsure of how it would go,” he said. “As the season played out a lot of people started to step up. It just all came together. “
Both received All-Region honors. Berry was named All-State Second Team FOGO (Face off/get off) and Cray was named All-State Third Team Midfield.
Both also shared thank you to the community, teammates and coaches.
“Without them I wouldn’t have been able to get to where I have gotten,” Berry said. “It really means a lot.”
“I would like to thank everyone for showing us support and all the coaches for believing in us and taking us as far as we did,” Cray added. “And to the team for all the competition during practices and getting everyone ready.”
Berry heads to Michigan State University where he will play lacrosse with the club program. He will study Pre-Med and Biology.
“It’s a great school,” he said. “I have always wanted to go to a Big Ten school. I hope to be a surgical oncologist and go into pre-med residency later on.”
Cray is heading to Indiana University to study business. He might also play lacrosse with the club program.
“I want to do something with personal finance, but not completely sure,” he said.

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