Created: 05/16/2014 11:48 PM WHEC.com
RIT Lacrosse is two wins away from the program's first national championship. The intensity at Friday's practice was palpable as the Tigers prepare for Tufts. But for one member of the team behind that razor focus, was a sense of loss after his hometown of Penn Yan was devastated by the floods.
Baird Wilber is a junior defenseman for the Tigers. A starter in all 20 games this season, his lacrosse skills were honed at Penn Yan Academy, which has now become a Red Cross shelter.
Baird's parents recently moved from Penn Yan to Branchport. He says their home withstood the floods, but many of his friends in Penn Yan have nothing left.
He says, "Pretty much they have never seen anything happen to Penn Yan. It's pretty messed up there is so much wrong. It's hard to watch it happen but I'm busy with lacrosse it's the back of my mind focusing on these things."
Penn Yan is a huge lacrosse community and maybe Baird bringing home a national championship could help the healing just a little. To do so the Tigers first must get through tufts in he national semi finals.
It's the fourth straight year RIT and Tufts will meet in the NCAA tournament. In 2011, Tufts eliminated the previously unbeaten Tigers. The Jumbos also winning in 2012. RIT finally got the monkey -- or in this case elephant -- off their back and they hope to do the same Sunday.