Mt. Blue’s Chase Ranger (2) looks to pass the ball during a round-robin preseason tournament against Lawrence at Messalonskee High School in Oakland earlier this year. Jaime Ranger photo

Mt. Blue sophomores Levi Bogar and Chase Ranger are good friends, complement each other on a lacrosse field and spearhead the Cougars’ youth movement.

Mt. Blue coach Matt Reynolds said their enthusiasm is contagious and they sometimes act as unofficial recruiters.

“They both started for the varsity program last year (as freshmen),” Reynolds said. “They have motivated other kids to play in summer leagues, winter leagues. 

“They are going above and beyond practice times. We have way more first-time players in the program than we ever had because of this group of kids. They love the game. They are pretty awesome. I wish I had a team of them.”

The bond between the two sophomores has been strengthen by the sport of lacrosse.

“(Levi) plays defense; I play offense,” Ranger, an attacker, said. “(Levi) is real fast. Everything starts from defense.”

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Added Bogar: “I really feel like we have good chemistry when we do play together.”

Mt. Blue’s Levi Bogar (3) heads up field during a round-robin preseason tournament against Lawrence at Messalonskee High School in Oakland earlier this year. Jaime Ranger photo

Ranger has had a lacrosse stick in his hands since the third grade. His older brother, Colby, is a senior for the Cougars. His younger brother, Cam, is an eighth-grader who also plays lacrosse.

Ranger and Bogar’s passion for lacrosse comes down to one aspect of the sport — the need for speed.

“I just love how fast-paced it is,” Ranger said. “I played T-ball when I was really young and it was so slow. I needed a faster sport and more intense.”

Bogar is sort of a late bloomer, taking up lacrosse in the seventh grade. He also plays for the Mt. Blue soccer team.

Like his good friend, Bogar relishes the accelerated pace of lacrosse.

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“I like how fast it is. It is really exciting,” the soft-spoken Bogar, a long-stick midfielder, said. “It seems like more (younger) people are getting into (lacrosse). The program is growing and it is about to become an official school sport at the middle school instead of a club team. I think we have 30 kids at the high school.”

From his vantage point, Ranger has seen Mt. Blue’s numbers rise and strengthen the program. He said teams are being added at the elementary school level, which acts as a feeder for the high school team.

Reynolds said that while Bogar and Ranger have developed a strong friendship, they are two separate personalities brought together by lacrosse.

“To give you an example, Levi is very, very quiet, very soft-spoken, but leads by example,” Reynolds said. “You see him on the field and he does his job and does it well. (He) isn’t loud and over the top.

“Chase, not that he is loud and over the top, but he is very vocal, leads by example as well, but you know where he is  on the field at all times. Both of them get the work done. Academically, both are solid students, but different personalities.” 

Chase and Bogar both have their strengths on the field.

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“Chase is a scorer,” Reynolds said. “He is an attacker. His strengths are attacking from X, attacking from the crease from behind the goal and doing some wrap-around shots. He is starting to develop an outside shot, so now he is becoming a more universal player as well.

“Levi, on the other hand, is my long pole. He started as an LSM (long-stick midfielder) and he is now playing defense… (He) is not known for scoring, more for his defensive presence on the ball and transitioning the ball from one end to the other. Not as glamorous as the offense, but (he) gets the dirty work done.”

Ranger likes the way the Cougars are shaping up for the coming season.

“I think we look pretty good,” he said. “We’ve had four practices and one round-robin, and that round-robin, we did a lot better than I thought we were going to do. We came together as a team. Yeah, I think we are going to be pretty good this year. I am expecting a playoff run this year.”

Bogar concurs with Ranger that the future looks bright for the Cougars.

“I feel like we should be pretty solid,” Bogar said. “I mean, we lost a really good group of seniors, but we have been practicing a lot at this new baseball facility in Wilton. We got a bunch of kids to go there, so I think we should be pretty good still.”

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