Westchester High School Lacrosse Coach Torn Between State Title Game, Own Wedding

Westlake Wasn't Supposed To Be This Good, So Now Hunter Burnard Is In A Pretty Impossible Situation

THORNWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A 28-year-old high school lacrosse coach from Westchester County has found himself facing a big dilemma.

As CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported Thursday, Westlake High School lacrosse coach Hunter Burnard is in the middle of the ultimate good news-bad news scenario.

“You know, I’m conflicted emotionally, because I want to be there for my guys,” Burnard said.

The good news is that Burnard’s lacrosse team — which school officials admit was not expected to tear it up this year — now finds itself playing for the Class D state championship in Rochester on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. It is the first time that has happened in team history.

“You know, obviously, it’s the state championship,” Burnard said. “It’s something you dream of.”

But at literally the same time that the championship game is to be played upstate — on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. — Coach Burnard is scheduled to be getting married to his fiancée, Ali Steinberg, 267 miles away in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania.

“Obviously, something we probably should’ve planned a little better,” he said.

Burnard said he and Steinberg planned the wedding six months ago, never figuring his team would ever make it to the state championship. That turned out to be a huge bowl of wrong.

So now, the coach has been put in a very tough situation. He has to choose between the championship game and his wedding.

CBS2’s Rapoport asked Burnard’s players what they want him to do.

“I’d rather him be at the game instead of the wedding, to be honest with you,” lacrosse player Nick Ryan said.

“We’d like to have him there, but we understand,” another player said.

Steinberg was a Division 1 lacrosse player herself, and a high school All-American, so she gets it. But, still, it’s their wedding.

“We have a lot of people coming, and I understand his position, but we’ve put a lot of money into this,” Steinberg said. “Please change the game, whoever’s listening. We would really appreciate it.”

Now, the coach is hoping the state High School Athletic Association will change the time of Westlake’s championship game against Christian Brothers Academy of Syracuse from 5:30 p.m. to the 10 a.m. slot currently reserved for another game.

If so, he figures he can get in his car after the game and hightail it to Pennsylvania — more than a four hour drive.

“I’d be back before the ceremony starts,” he said.

But if they can’t switch game times, what is Burnard going to do? Do you really have to ask?

“You know, this is my wife. This is who I want to spend the rest my life with,” he said. “So it’s an easy choice when you think about it like that.”

Rapoport did ask the entire team as a group if it was OK with the coach attending his wedding. All the players said they were.

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