Lacrosse Team To Hold Lacrosse Day To Raise Money For Wayne Students



Matthew Polifonte (middle in Knicks jersey) pictured with his family.

By Jared Pohl and Jack Woodard

The WHHS Lacrosse team will be holding its eighth annual Lacrosse Day and will be donating money to two Wayne students and lacrosse players.

Matthew Polifonte, who is supposed to attend Wayne Hills someday, is still in a medically induced coma after being injured in a catastrophic car accident on March 23. He was in the backseat of the family’s Toyota Sienna when a woman who has been charged with drunk driving crashed into the car.  Polifonte was unconscious and showing signs of impaired vision on the scene.  A GoFund Me page has been set up for Polifonte, one of five children, and the site has raised over $70,000 to date for the family and for medical expenses.  The 10-year-old spent his birthday in the hospital and in a coma.

The other student is named Jake Ruddman who was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a very rare form of cancer, with fewer than 1,000 US cases per year according to After complaining of on-and-off leg pain, he was diagnosed with cancer in his femur. He is currently on crutches to avoid putting weight on his leg but is expected to make a full recovery after having the bone removed. 

Since both of the students were lacrosse players in the Wayne Township, the lacrosse team has decided to have a day where they could raise money and support the two boys.

Varsity Coach Marc Jacobson, the head coach of the lacrosse team, had much to say about this year’s event.

“We have been holding Wayne Lacrosse Day for the past eight years.  Last year, we decided we wanted to tie it in to a charity event. We raised more than $2000 for New Beginnings For Tomorrow, a school for disabled young adults.  With the unfortunate events surrounding both Jake Rudd and Matthew Polifonte, it was a “no-brainer”. Both Jake and Matthew are part of the Wayne Lacrosse family and both are facing some very serious challenges.  Our student-athletes are very lucky – they get to play a game they love every day. It’s important to realize that life is not always that easy. But the nice thing about Wayne is that when someone needs help, the entire town usually comes together to help. That’s what we are trying to do in a small way.”

Jacobson also explained what the event was, “There is a full-day youth tournament at the high school on Saturday with all proceeds going to the families of Jake and Matthew.  All of the Hills and Valley lacrosse teams will also be playing each other in the stadium.  There will be multiple vendors on site as well as donation tables.  Then on Sunday, the Hills and Valley varsity lacrosse teams will be holding a clinic for PAL aged kids from 10am-noon.  All of the proceeds will go towards the families.”

“I think the important thing is for all of us, players and coaches alike, is to realize that our sport is very small – all sports are.  But when we can channel the sport to help someone in need, then it gives them a much greater meaning.  I hope that’s what our student-athletes can take away from Saturday.”