That's how long Mars' varsity boys lacrosse program has been around. What the Planets have accomplished in that time is pretty remarkable.
Five straight section titles, four straight WPIAL crowns and a 5-3 record in the state playoffs — that resume would be very impressive for a program with 15 years under its belt, let alone one still in its first decade of existence.
The Planets' 2019 season ended June 1 with a PIAA Class AA quarterfinal loss to Hershey, but this season's players did nothing but add to the school's reputation as a power in lacrosse at both the district and state level.
From 2009-16, boys lacrosse in the WPIAL was not divided into classes, but divisions. For their first four years, Mars' boys competed in Division II. State playoff berths were reserved for Division I teams, programs that were more established.
Mars won its first of four WPIAL titles in 2016 and I remember interviewing several Planets at Highmark Stadium following the victory. Sure, they were proud and honored to be crowned WPIAL champions, but each one expressed a desire to play on. They were legitimately disappointed that they would not have the chance to see where they stacked up against other strong teams from around the state.
Since then, Mars has successfully defended its WPIAL title three times and won at least one state playoff game each season. That includes a respectable 3-3 record in PIAA games played against teams from District 3 and 1, the Harrisburg and suburban Philadelphia districts, respectively, where the sport has been played for 40-plus years at some schools.
The current run of success can affect Mars' varsity teams for years to come. Young boys see the high-level of play against not only teams from this area, but from around the state and a lot of them will pick up the sport because they want to be part of winning, which is fun. They're attracted to it.
Derek Pyda is a staff writer for the Cranberry Eagle