RICK GRAEFE / JOURNAL Phil McFarland of CBC led the Cadets in scoring last season.

Eddie Condon knew it. From the moment he watched the middle school kid holding his own with the bigger boys, he could tell he was special. Condon, the longtime CBC lacrosse coach, saw things in the youngster that just don’t come along all that often. The way he carried himself on the field. The way he moved his feet. The way he could catch and pass the ball with his stick. It looked natural. It looked like his stick was an extension of his body.

He was the kind of talent that Condon coveted. The kind that only comes down the pipe once in awhile. That kid was Phil McFarland. And he was at a camp, and he was playing for Parkway Central’s freshman team as an eighth grader.

McFarland would go on to start for the Colts as a freshman, and midway through his sophomore year, he transfered to CBC. Parkway Central’s program wasn’t sustainable, so it fused with Parkway North and was dropped down a competitive tier. McFarland was already starting to attract some looks from colleges for his lacrosse skills. A neighbor of his went to CBC, and McFarland played with some of the guys who were already there. It seemed like a no-brainer. Even if he had to sit out his sophomore year due to his transfer. “He transferred from Parkway Central and had to sit out his sophomore year,” Condon says. “He sacrificed his sophomore year to play with us. I was humbled.”

The year away from the varsity was tough but it could pay dividends this season. McFarland and his younger teammates developed a bond and feel for one another on the field. This year, many of those JV players are playing significant roles for the Cadets varsity team and that’s something McFarland says will only help them in the long run. “I feel this team is so close and has such great chemistry,” the 18-year-old says.

McFarland spent last season tearing up opposing defenses. An all-Metro selection, he scored 67 goals and handed out 13 assists. After a year working with the JV team, he was unleashed on the varsity. “That felt really good to get back into it,” McFarland says.

Lacrosse is something he’s been into for awhile. Most players aren’t exposed to the game until they reach high school. McFarland has been playing competitively since the sixth grade. He was born in Boston and has spent many days visiting family out that way. While baseball and soccer are the Gateway City’s first loves, lacrosse is deeply rooted out on the East Coast. It’s the game of choice for many and the only game to wrap itself around McFarland. “Lacrosse was the sport I held on to,” the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder says.

It’s the sport he’s dedicated himself to. Condon raves about McFarland’s work ethic and skill set. He does things on the field that few can match. “He’s such a high caliber player. He’s very smart with the ball. His stick skills are phenomenal,” Condon says. “He sees the game developing in front of him.”

McFarland is hoping he can translate his and his teammates’ skills into a memorable season at CBC. The Cadets have championship aspirations. And McFarland will have to be prominently involved if those dreams are going to become a reality. “I just feel like I’m not leaving CBC without a state championship,” McFarland says.

It might sound confident but McFarland is no fool. He’s carrying a 4.0 GPA and is headed to Marquette University where he’ll play lacrosse and study pre-med. Before he gets there, though, there is some unfinished business. “Absolutely winning a state championship,” he says.