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Sports Person of the Week
Paleski Continues Family Tradition by Making All-SCC
Cam Paleski garnered All-SCC accolades as a junior with the Hornets’ boys’ lacrosse squad and will lead the team as a senior captain next season. (Photo courtesy of Cam Paleski)
Lacrosse has always been a big thing in Cam Paleski’s family as his brother Connor and sister Grace were both standout performers for Branford. Cam wanted to keep the Paleski legacy going with the Hornets, and he’s certainly succeeding after having earned All-SCC honors as a junior and then being named a captain for his upcoming senior year.
Cam’s journey in lacrosse started in his family’s front yard. Cam and his brother would often throw passes to each other and work on their games. The time spent with his brother made Cam him realize how much he wanted to play lacrosse.
“It was always fun to watch him play. He really taught me a lot,” says Cam. “I always looked up. I always tried to be like him. I would see the things he was doing and try to do them myself. It really helped me as a player.”
Cam joined the Branford youth league in 4th grade and played through 8th grade. This period in Cam’s career proved pivotal as he not only met some of his closest friends, but decided that he was going to go all-in on lacrosse.
“Youth lacrosse was such a great time. I had so much fun. The people I played with there are still my boys to this day,” Cam says. “It was always a blast playing with them. It kept me in love with the game. I just love it. I can’t get enough.”
In his freshman year, Cam joined the Branford boys’ lacrosse squad and promptly became a varsity starter on defense. While being thrown into the fray as a freshman, Cam quickly figured out that what he was doing at the youth level wasn’t going to fly in the varsity ranks, but he felt grateful to learn that lesson right away.
Cam had grown up playing the midfield in Branford. However, when one of the Hornets’ starting defenders suffered an injury prior to the team’s first game, Cam moved over to the defensive end in his freshman season. Cam was more than OK with the switch, because he likes putting in the dirty work on defense to prevent opposing attackers from getting to the goal.
“I love defense. Everyone wants to score the goals, but nobody wants to play defense. That’s where I find my pride in the game,” says Cam. “It’s a great feeling saying I stopped you from getting to the goal. I just want to do the dirty work on defense.”
While didn’t play as a sophomore due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cam made sure to do as much as he could to continue improving his lacrosse skills. He would be in his yard every day with a stick in hand, focusing on his mechanics and working on things that he wasn’t able to during the high school season.
When he returned as a junior, Cam was back in his role as a starting varsity defender and wound up putting together a solid season. As one of the few players on the Hornets’ roster with varsity experience, Cam loved meeting his new teammates and sharing the experience of being on the field with them.
“It felt great to be back. We had a lot of new kids that hadn’t played before. It was really fun playing with everybody,” Cam says. “I thought I played pretty well the whole season. I had a few games where I dipped, but I didn’t do terrible ever. I thought I played well.”
When the spring season came to a close, Cam was named to the All-SCC Second Team for his strong play during the 2021 campaign. With his two older siblings having earned All-Conference honors, Cam felt proud to carry on the family tradition.
“It was a big honor to me,” says Cam. “My sister and my brother were both getting accolades their junior year. I knew I really had to keep up and that I couldn’t fall behind family-wise. It was a big pride bringer to me.”
Heading into next season, Head Coach Jim May has named Cam as one of the Hornets’ captains alongside fellow rising seniors Dylan Dupre, Kevin Lee, and Aidan Strebel. During the offseason, the captains are going to spearhead a program in which members of squad will make 500 passes a day, record their times, and then send those results to Coach May. Cam was honored to be selected as a captain and is looking forward to leading the Hornets into his senior year.
“It felt great that Coach May trusted me to get on these guys and get them moving every day,” Cam says. “We have a 500 program. We have to get 500 passes in each day. He trusts us to get on them and make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing alongside us.”
In addition to lacrosse, Cam is a member of Branford’s football team and also played basketball as a freshman before taking his junior year off. Cam says that playing football and basketball taught him a lot about how to be a gritty athlete.
“I really played basketball to help me on the lacrosse field. I’m not a shooter. I go down, I play good defense, and I do my part. I just try to help the team,” says Cam. “With football, it has helped me become a grittier player. I love contact.”
As he continues his lacrosse career at Branford, Cam’s goals are to make All-State and help the Hornets make some waves in the playoffs. Cam says that playing lacrosse has helped define who he is as a person, and that it means the world to him that he gets to do so in his hometown.
“I love it. I say it proudly. I’m all about lacrosse,” Cam says. “Anybody that knows me knows that I’m just lacrosse, lacrosse, lacrosse. It’s an honor to say I’m with Branford lacrosse.”