Wayne Hills NJ lacrosse is a top prospect

At 12:01 a.m., the phone began to light up with messages.

The texts. Calls. Emails. You name it.

Nearly 30 teams from across the country have entered their names into the Kaitlyn Davies contest during the first hour of open contact in 2020.

The Wayne Hills lacrosse star is getting a lot of attention on and off the field.

“She’s the real deal,” coach Daniella Wagenti said. “Everyone knows Kaitlyn Davies.”

Wayne Hills and the Caldwell girls play lacrosse in Wayne on April 5, 2022. Kaitlyn Davies #16 of Wayne Hill.

Davies begins his final year ranked 16th nationally by Inside Lacrosse with a commitment to Florida in hand. And it’s not hard to see the appeal of the Patriots midfield captain.

Not only did she score more goals (104) and points (124) than anyone in North Jersey last year, but she also earned extra possessions thanks to her tenacity in defense and in draws.

But today, Davies isn’t resting on his laurels as a polished five-star recruit. She came back this year with a stronger, more accurate shot and a burning desire to win a third straight Passaic County title. She understands that it’s a blessing and a curse when every recognition report begins with your name.

“I always want to get better at everything,” said Davies, the reigning North Jersey Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year.

“You have to play wall ball every day. I have to run a lot. It’s important to stay in shape as a middie. So I trained all the time, even in season.”

Wayne Hills and the Caldwell girls play lacrosse in Wayne on April 5, 2022. Kaitlyn Davies #16 of Wayne Hills hugs teammate Kate Lopresti #4 after Davies scored.

The roots of lacrosse run deep in the Davies house. Her older sister Ali is a 2015 Wayne Hills grad who won back-to-back county titles. Her father, Chris, was a high-level captain at Fair Lawn who married his high school sweetheart.

Kaitlyn Davies picked up a stick as a sophomore and started playing in the Wayne PAL.

For Davies, it was love at first sight.

“The first game, she just laughed and smiled,” Chris Davies said. “She had no idea what she was doing. She just ran around the court laughing and smiling. She had a blast.”

It’s common today to hear stories of a parent pushing their child to play their sport, especially in the competitive world of college recruiting. The truth is, the Davies are quite the opposite.

When the pandemic hit, Kaitlyn asked her dad to grab a stick and find any open piece of grass.

They drove up hills at Goffle Brook Park in Hawthorne and spilled tires. They passed the time with games of wall ball.

Soon, Davies went from a freshman phenom to a sharp sophomore ready to handle elite competition. Wagenti never had to worry if she followed the team’s home training schedule.

Wayne Hills and the Caldwell girls play lacrosse in Wayne on April 5, 2022. Kaitlyn Davies #16 of Wayne Hills.

“She’s self-propelled,” said Fair Lawn Athletic Hall of Famer Chris Davies. “She drags me out of bed, ‘daddy let’s go for a run.’ Take Me to the Gym I can’t tell you how many times we would walk down to any piece of real estate with a goal and just go shoot.

“During the pandemic, all she did was train.”

Off the court, Davies worked with a trainer at Paramus, building muscle with power cleans, deadlifts and bench presses. It’s a routine that dates back to his freshman year.

“You have to watch her hips because she’s not predictable,” senior defender Sam Hoff said. “She has such good technical work that you’ll never know where she’s going to shoot. You always have to be aware when she’s on the pitch.”

Davies narrowed his list of schools to three finalists, including North Carolina and Ohio State, before committing to play in Gainesville. She came down for a campus visit in 2019 before recruiting went virtual. She loved the warm weather and felt connected to the team.

“I went sophomore to their camp and met a lot of them,” said Davies, who will likely be majoring in business or marketing. “They were all so nice and the atmosphere is great there. The coaches are amazing and the whole school in general is wonderful.”

Of course, there’s a lot more to accomplish with the No. 5 Patriots. For one thing, Davies is set to break Wayne Hills’ goalscoring record this month despite losing a full season due to the pandemic. And along with seven other senior starters, Davies is more than happy to share the wealth with her teammates.

“In training, she always cheers on the girls she knows need encouragement,” Wagenti said. “She doesn’t care who you are. She’ll pass the ball to you if you’re open.

“She’s just a very, very fun talented player.”

Wayne Hills and the Caldwell girls play lacrosse in Wayne on April 5, 2022. Kaitlyn Davies #16 of Wayne Hills shoots on goal.

Having a Division I prospect has a domino effect for Wayne Hills, who moved up a division a year ago. Wagenti can easily point to Davies when explaining how something should be done. Davies has also developed an interest in coaching, working with seventh graders on his travel team and locally with PAL.

All these years later, she’s still the girl with the smile on her face running around the court.

“She’s fearless,” Wagenti said. “She’s not afraid of anything. She’ll lay down for a ball. She’ll cross you for a ball on the ground. She’ll shoot from anywhere. That’s the good thing about her. She wants always improving. . She’s so competitive and it shows.”

Sean Farrell is a high school sports reporter for NorthJersey.com. For full access to live scores, breaking news and analysis from our Varsity Aces team, subscribe today. To get the latest news straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter and download our app.

Email: farrells@northjersey.com

Twitter: @seanfarrell92

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