You can hear it at most Lake Forest High School boys lacrosse games.
It’s a booming voice, emanating from the stands:
“Time to eat!”
The voice belongs to Sam Murphy, whose half brother is Scouts junior attackman Jack Mislinski.
“He’s telling me it’s time to perform,” says the 6-foot, 175-pound Mislinski, in his third season as a varsity member and his first as a captain.
Mislinski “consumed” at an alarming rate in the first quarter of a home game against New Trier on April 12, scoring three straight goals for the Scouts in a snappy span of 3:26.
The natural hat trick erased a 3-0 deficit in a hurry and upped Mislinski’s team-high goal total to 12 (with four assists) through the Scouts’ first three games.
LF led 7-6 early in the third quarter but lost 15-8 to the reigning state runner-up.
Mislinski — his full name is a birth-certificate-clogging Joseph Henry Sullivan Mislinski, and he’s a Rotten Apples club lax player — paced the Scouts in points and goals last spring, a year after feeling “optimistic but unsure” when he showed up as a varsity hopeful as a freshman.
“Jack was very quiet and timid at the beginning of his freshman season,” recalls Lake Forest coach Marc Thiergart, whose squad improved to 2-2 with a 13-11 defeat of Highland Park on April 17. “First game he played for us, you could tell he was a freshman. But he grew into his role and progressed well. Now he’s sneaky fast, a player who protects his stick quite well and plays with no fear.
“It’s normal these days,” the coach adds, “when he runs through three kids to bury a shot.”
Mislinski thought he would continue his quest to avoid three strikes while batting in baseball at the high school level. His half brother — now 25 years old and working in Chicago — had taught Mislinski how to bat by taping the youngster’s hands to a bat and making him swing at pitches. But baseball got benched for good when Mislinski, at the urging of a couple of friends, gave lacrosse a try in 2014. The stick felt comfortable in his hands.
The sport was different.
“Looking back, I wanted to try something new,” Mislinski says. “I picked it up and loved it right away. I will always be grateful for the way Sam encouraged me and motivated me to play sports. He looked out for me; I looked up to him. He grew up in New Jersey, and he was fine with my decision to play lacrosse.”
Murphy, Mislinski notes, guides third-grade lacrosse players as a Lake Forest Lacrosse Association coach.
A wide receiver on the football team last fall — he caught 16 passes for 207 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown reception — Mislinski hopes to earn the starting quarterback nod this fall. But his future is in the sport where passes come from sticks, not in the sport where folks on sidelines move the sticks.
“Shifty with the ball, and Jack is silent but confident when he plays,” says Scouts senior captain and middie Colton Johnston, who delivered the assist on Mislinski’s third goal against New Trier (5-2). “He’s very good at using the defender guarding him to serve as a screen when he shoots; that makes it hard for a defense [to track his shots]. One of the best attacks in the state, in my opinion.
“And he’s a quiet kid who keeps a calm, cool, collected demeanor out there,” Johnston adds. “He doesn’t want to be the center of attention, but with the way he plays, he has to be for us.”
Mislinski’s first career goal for the Scouts came in a game against Mundelein, back in 2015. The sequence of it started from behind a cage, with a dodging Mislinski rushing forward to create space for himself before whipping a shot past a Mustangs goalkeeper.
One down, dozens more to follow.
“I dealt with a lot of nerves as a freshman,” Mislinski admits. “It was a lot to handle, but I’m thankful I got to experience that early in my career. It was exciting, hearing I’d made the varsity from Coach Thiergart, and it boosted my confidence immediately. What I loved about lacrosse then and what I love about it today is the combination of skills the sport requires. The skills … they’re fun to develop.”
Plus they’re fun to watch, especially when the ball is nestled in the webbing of Mislinski’s stick and it’s time to fill his belly.
“He has turned into a great leader for us, with his abilities and his dedication to the game.” Thiergart says. “It’s been nice and impressive, watching him develop the way he has each year he’s been in our program.
“You’re looking at a player,” the coach adds, “who has what it takes to play big-time lacrosse in college.”
Notable: Lake Forest High School junior attackman Mead Payne, like junior teammate Jack Mislinski, struck for a hat trick in a 15-8 loss to visiting New Trier on April 12. Payne would have matched Mislinski’s natural hat trick had New Trier senior middie Christian Hurteau not scored following Payne’s first goal. Payne’s third goal gave LF a 7-6 advantage at the 10:05 mark of the third quarter. Senior middle Colton Johnston and junior middie Luke Milliman scored the Scouts’ other goals. … Mislinski tallied his team’s goal in a 13-1 road loss to reigning state champion Loyola Academy on April 8. “I’m glad we played two really good teams right away this year,” Mislinski says of battling against last year’s state finalists in a stretch of five days. “It’s good to see where we stand against such programs and determine what we need to do to get better.”