There’s no doubt in the talent Manhasset has on its boys lacrosse team. It showed when it became state champions for the second consecutive season in 2023.

That’s what we see: long sticks punishing attackers and short sticks slotting in goals. But what often gets overlooked is the number on the jersey, and for three Manhasset stars, there is a special meaning that transcends the sport they learned to love.

Seniors Patrick Arnold and Jack Mulholland will wear No. 4 and No. 44, respectively, and senior Mikey Mondiello will wear No. 32 to continue the legacies of Manhasset alumni who passed away.

“It is a great honor to represent those numbers,” Mondiello said. “It reminds you that you’re playing for something bigger than yourself.”

Mondiello’s No. 32 stands for John Driscoll, who passed away in 2002 after a six-year fight with brain cancer. Driscoll was a high school All-American and two-time Nassau championship game MVP when he played at Manhasset in 1975 and 1976. The Nassau County Lacrosse Coaches’ Association created the Driscoll Award in his honor, which is given to the best midfielder in Nassau each season.

“The No. 32 is always a big announcement at the beginning of the year,” Manhasset coach Keith Cromwell said of the two-decade tradition. “We’ve had some great players represent that number.”

This is the first year Manhasset is honoring '4' and '44.' Arnold’s No. 4 represents brothers James and Michael Farrell, and Mulholland’s No. 44 represents Ryan Kiess. The three alumni, who were childhood friends, passed away along with their Uber driver, Farhan Zahid, after a car going over 100 mph swerved into oncoming traffic and collided with the Uber in July 2021. James Farrell and Kiess were 25, and Michael Farrell was 20.

The tragedy led the Farrell and Kiess families to connect again with Cromwell and the Manhasset lacrosse program where the two families bonded and played together. The families visited practices at the beginning of the season to share stories and speak with the team, and they still go to games.

“They love the fact that they’re seeing those boys' jerseys out on the field and being remembered that way,” Cromwell said.

Cromwell and his coaching staff chose Arnold, Mulholland and Mondiello after talking with the families and sharing opinions. Mulholland’s physicality on defense felt reminiscent of Kiess’ strength, which he showcased both at Manhasset and the University of Scranton.

“My parents have known the Kiess [family] a very long time,” Mulholland said. “It was just nice to see [both families]. We got to talk to them, we got to hear about their sons, and it was just a great experience to talk to them about it.”

Cromwell coached Michael Farrell, calling him a “key contributor” to Manhasset’s lacrosse program. That was just on the field, though. Off the field, Cromwell said Farrell’s “contagious personality” stood out and connects him to Arnold today as the spirit of Manhasset’s team.

“[Michael] had a great smile, he was great around the other guys,” Cromwell said. “I thought Patrick embodied that, the way his personality was. We thought it was a good fit for him to wear No. 4 this year.”

Arnold said his older brother, Edward, was best friends with Michael Farrell. The two won a county title together with Manhasset in 2019, with the family connection making Arnold’s involvement even more personal.

“I’m a very talkative person," Patrick Arnold said. "I bring a lot of energy — I think it’s important for our team to win — and honestly, I get it a lot from seeing Michael at my house growing up, seeing James and the way they played. I always adored them, looked up to them and the way they carried themselves. I give credit to them for helping me become who I am today.”

Michael Farrell went on to play club lacrosse at Villanova, and his brother James captained the lacrosse team at UPenn. Arnold’s No. 4 covers the brothers poetically as both wore the number in high school, with James Farrell also wearing the storied No. 32 for Driscoll in his senior season.

“I grew up looking up to Michael and James,” Arnold said. “It felt like such an honor to even be recognized for wearing that number to try and carry on their legacies and everything they stood for.”

Driscoll’s number being passed down is a longer tradition within Manhasset, something Cromwell said Mondiello earned after being part of two state championship teams while improving his game year after year.

“It definitely feels very special,” Mondiello said. “I grew up watching all these kids with No. 32 and hearing the significance of the number.”

The program has a saying — it’s even written in the student section of the stands of Manhasset — “Legends live forever.” As Arnold, Mulholland and Mondiello raise their sticks and scoop up ground balls, those legends live on as part of the program to which they gave so much of themselves.

By: Michael Sicoli