Jackson Harris envisioned being a star player for the Charlotte Catholic lacrosse team long before he put on a Cougar uniform.
Harris admits has been a regular at Catholic lacrosse games since he was in the 5th grade, where "he idolized many of the former Catholic greats," from Mike Sawyer to Michael Italiano to Connor Flynn to Nick Sawyer and more.
For last three seasons, Harris has been living out his dreams, as he has developed into an All-American, all-state attackmen for the Cougars.
Harris had his best season as a junior, scoring 50 goals, earning co-offensive, most valuable player for his team, while helping lead Catholic to 4A state runner-up finish.
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Just when it seemed like everything was going right, Harris tore the ACL in his right knee in a Team Carolina practice on June 7, 2015.
As a result, Harris would have to miss the entire summer and fall, before being cleared to in mid-January.
"It was really tough not being able to play lacrosse, you never want that to happen," Harris said. "…But the good thing is that I will 100 percent when the (Charlotte Catholic) season starts. I will definitely appreciate every minute I get out there on the field now after having to sit and watch."
"Jackson (Harris) is a one of those ‘lacrosse rats,’ that plays year round, is working on his game all the time," said Charlotte Catholic lacrosse coach, Bo Turner, who is in his 22nd year as the Cougars’ head coach. "I know it was hard on him sitting out with the ACL. You can see that hunger in him already to get back. You can tell he is ready to go."
Harris is part of a veteran that also includes, senior standouts like attacker, Ryan Young (Sewanee signee), midfielders, Zak Butz and Robbie Wallon, all-state defender, Zach Strassner (University of Delaware signee) and all-state goalkeeper, Grant Portwood.
The entire, Catholic team is eager to get back to the state championship game and win it all.
The Cougars, who are 43-5 over the past two seasons, beat the same Apex team to win the 2014 state title and hope to walk off the field as champions this year.
"I know how it feels to walk off the field as a state champion," said Harris, referring to the 2014 title. "But last year, we all had to watch them (Apex) storm the field and celebrate (a state title). We all remember that feeling. We are going to use that feeling as motivation."
Charlotte Observer Boys’ Lacrosse to Watch
Grant Portwood, Charlotte Catholic, Sr.: All-state goalkeeper is another major player for a loaded Cougar lineup as he saved 70 percent of the shots on goal last season.
John Donahue, Charlotte Country Day, Defender, Sr.: All-American defender, Colgate signee has the size (6-foot-4, 225 pounds), talent (98 groundballs, 25 takeaways last year) to shutdown opposing offenses.
Eric Dickinson, Myers Park, Sr./Cory Van Ginhoven, Butler, Sr.: Both players are prolific scorers for teams on the rise, and Dickinson (70 goals last year) and Van Ginhoven (65 goals last year) look to be even better in 2016.
Hunter Sheridan, Charlotte Latin, Midfielder, Sr.: Hawks’ standout steps into a lead role for the four-time, defending NCISAA state champions.
Cam Porta, Marvin Ridge, Midfielder/Faceoff Sr.: Mavericks’ reigning team MVP can have a big impact on faceoffs (won 70 percent last year) and on offensive scoring 35 goals a season ago.