It doesn't matter what sport it is, it's tough to win five consecutive championships.
Last year's senior class for the Fairmont Senior girls lacrosse team was one for the record books. Until this year, when Ali Sansalone came along.
"Every game you go in having everything to lose and the other team has nothing to lose compared to you," Ali Sansalone said. "So you know you always have to be on your toes. You can never have too many slip-ups because then if you lose the game then you hear them screaming and yelling, they're so happy. So it only makes it that much harder."
When you talk about a dynasty in high school sports, the Fairmont Senior girls lacrosse team is towards the top of the list. Five consecutive state championships will do that. But this year the Lady Polar Bears face a whole new challenge, like how to replace a senior group that was relied upon so heavily over the years. Ali Sansalone is one of 3 seniors on this year's team, and says it's time to step up.
"All the seniors last year who are playing this year, like Midge [Robinson] and Ali Fetty and Abby McClellan, they kind of paved the way for people like me and Gabby [Mascaro] behind me, and some of the other juniors and upperclassmen. So I think that's my job and I think if we can do that then we can win. It's going to take, like I said, hard work," Sansalone said.
"We've got 33 girls and 23 of them are freshmen and sophomores," Polar Bears head coach Jon Cain said. "That's part of the process. You have a good run and hopefully you can reload instead of rebuild, and that's what we're doing."
Ali scored a team-high seven goals in Fairmont's home opening win last week over University. The senior attacker has won a state title every single season since she began playing during her freshman year, but also admits she does not want her senior year to be the first season they don't win a championship.
"It's hard because you always have that 'X' on your back so everybody wants to beat you. So it takes all that extra work. It's a lot of hard work and teams are growing now, so it's not as easy as it was the first state championship that we won. This year going into the sixth one, if we can get it, then it's going to be a lot harder than it was the other five times," Sansalone added.