Camden Catholic girls' lacrosse team honors state trooper who lost life
Aryn McCormick wore her late fiancé's sweatshirt, the baggy black one with "Irish Lacrosse" embossed on the front. "Mine doesn't fit anymore," said McCormick, who is expecting her second child in August.
Aryn McCormick wore her late fiancé's sweatshirt, the baggy black one with "Irish Lacrosse" embossed on the front.
"Mine doesn't fit anymore," said McCormick, who is expecting her second child in August.
Her older son, Seamus, will turn 1 on May 18. He was front and center Wednesday, wearing his green sweat jacket with the Fighting Irish logo, smiling at everybody who caught his eye.
"Sad and happy," Camden Catholic senior goalie Khaia Baranowski said in summation of a special afternoon at Shamrock Field, when the Irish girls' lacrosse team welcomed back their former assistant coach and honored a loyal supporter of the program who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Camden Catholic's 11-6 victory over Cherry Hill East on a cool, overcast day was dedicated to New Jersey state trooper Sean Cullen, who was killed in a traffic accident in West Deptford while on duty on March 8.
Baranowski and other seniors presented McCormick with some tokens of their affection and appreciation during a pregame ceremony - a pair of miniature lacrosse sticks, a Camden Catholic bear and bib, flowers and letters from assistant coach Kathleen Notos' second-grade class.
"There's some jokes in there," Camden Catholic head coach Bridget Sipera said of the letters. "Just really precious stuff."
Players from both teams wore blue ribbons in their hair in honor of Cullen, and some Camden Catholic players had blue-and-gold shoelaces as well.
A large sign that read "In Honor of Trooper Sean Cullen" hung beneath the windows of the press box, and all proceeds from the snack stand and sale of Camden Catholic gear were to be donated to the family.
"This is a family that means so much to Camden Catholic," Sipera said. "This is something our seniors wanted to do. They came to me and asked if we could do something like this, and we ran with it."
McCormick and Sipera played lacrosse together at Camden Catholic. Both were in the Class of 2002.
McCormick was Sipera's assistant coach for four years, through 2013. She coached the current seniors as freshmen.
"This is the reason why we love Camden Catholic," McCormick said. "This is the reason why we always come back - the tradition, the support."
McCormick said she has been "overwhelmed" by the outpouring of support since Cullen's death.
"It's been over the top," said McCormick, who lives in Cinnaminson in a home she shared with Cullen. "It's been amazing."
McCormick said Cullen was "so supportive" of Camden Catholic girls' lacrosse program as well as a big fan of the Irish wrestling team.
Cullen, a star wrestler at Cinnaminson High School and Lycoming College, served as an assistant coach for Camden Catholic's wrestling team for one year under then-head coach Ryan McCormick, Aryn's brother.
"That's how we met," Aryn McCormick said. "Sean wrestled against my brother. We went out one night and he introduced us."
Baranowski, who made five saves as Camden Catholic improved its record to 11-3, has a special relationship with McCormick.
McCormick said Baranowski was the first "nonfamily member" to babysit Seamus. That was in February, about a month before Cullen's death.
"I was excited, but I basically just watched the dog," Baranowski said. "[Seamus] slept the whole time."
Baranowski said the game carried extra significance for the team.
"We're so happy they're here," Baranowski said. "But at the same time, we're so sad that we lost a loved one."