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Central's Case brothers land at D-1 Detroit Mercy

The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich. — James Cook The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich.

May 17--RAVERSE CITY -- The University of Detroit Mercy got a two-for-one deal on lacrosse players.

Traverse City Central twin brothers Cam and Landon Case signed their national letters-of-intent Wednesday at the Trojans' signing day ceremony that saw 14 additional student-athletes make their commitments official, bringing the school's total to 18 for the year.

The Case brothers are just the second and third Traverse City-area lacrosse players to sign with a Division 1 program, following Brett Spanski.

"We've talked to Brett a couple times," Landon said. "He's explained what it's all about an what it takes. It's been a big help.

"We're going to work hard for our first couple years and work our way into some playing time. We'll have to work our way up, and hopefully by our junior and senior years, we'll be some of the top guys on the team."

Spanski was the first Michigan lacrosse player north of Grand Rapids to sign on with a Division 1 school. Central's Ryan McGee was the first from TC to play collegiately, signing with Olivet College in 2013.

Spanski stayed at Mercy for two years, and the Case brothers spoke to him about his experiences in Detroit and with the team in order to know what to expect.

"We talked to Brett Spanski, and he said he really enjoyed it," Cam said. "Detroit is a great city, and it'll be a big learning experience as well. Going from a small city like Traverse City to Detroit, that'll be a good change of pace."

Spanski went on to play club ball at Michigan State and is now coaching.

"Seeing these other guys before them play college ball and coming back with stories about how much work it is," Traverse City United head coach Liberty Provost said. "It's like a full-time job on top of your classes. And the fact that -- and I think they recognize this -- that you're probably not going to be on the field your first year. You have to go with the understanding that you're going to work your butt off for a year, just to practice. You have to embrace and love the practice side of it. Practice can be fun at that level, because you're challenged every day. If these guys embrace the challenge aspect, they're going to love it. And I think they're ready to do that. These guys have a big hill to climb, but I know they're ready to do it."

The twins were recruited by a number of in-state schools, including Hope and Albion, ending up with the Titans -- the mascot of Central's rival, TC West -- after their coach saw them play in a showcase tournament last summer.

Joining a team called the Titans hasn't escaped the notice of the Case's teammates at Traverse City United, which is made up of players from both Central and West.

"A couple of the West guys on our team (do)," Landon said, "and a few Central guys joke that we're traitors."

Landon played wide receiver and defensive back and Cam was a linebacker and offensive guard on the football team. Case also has had a solid wrestling career at West, earning a spot on the All-Region team as a junior.

Not surprisingly, the twin brothers have similar styles of play.

Cam did play defensive midfield early in his career, but his rapid progression forced coaches to move him more up top, joining Landon as an offensive midfielder.

Both were all-Northern Michigan Lacrosse Conference selections last year. Cam was the Traverse City Thunder's MVP in the season before the squad rose up to varsity status.

"I saw the top varsity guys, the senior, playing really well and having fun -- and I wanted to be just like them," Cam said. "I just went for it in the offseason."

The two worked on their passing, catching and shooting skills, studying game strategy online.

"By the time their second season started, they were passing and catching like they were playing for six years," Provost said. "I knew at that point they had a natural love for the game and were hard workers. I knew I had two great players coming up."

Landon was always a skilled player, but really worked on his left hand between his junior and senior seasons.

"Being able to play with your right or left is such a huge thing in lacrosse," Provost said. "It makes you so hard to guard. All the sudden, Landon's left hand was just as good if not better than his right. Both of those guys have just come around. I can play them anywhere on the field. They're just so versatile and coachable that they're naturally leaders on our team and set a great example for the guys."

While both will be majoring in engineering at Mercy, the plan wasn't always to go to the same team in college.

"It was an idea at the beginning," Cam said. "I never thought it would actually happen."

Detroit Mercy posted a 9-7 record last year, including a 5-1 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference slate. The Titans dropped the MAAC title game 10-9 in overtime to Canisius, missing out on an NCAA Tournament berth by one goal.

TC Central signees

Margot Woughter, Indiana Wesleyan, basketball

Hailey Williams, Davenport, hockey

Sam Briggs, Grand Rapids CC, baseball

Luke Klug, Lansing CC, baseball

Landon Case, Detroit Mercy, lacross

Cam Case, Detroit Mercy, lacrosse

Hayley Scollard, Hope College, track

Terry O'Connor, Michigan State, football

Walker Chung, Kalamazoo College, football

Gabe Pickett, Michigan Tech, football

Rebekah Cotton, Spring Arbor, soccer

Annaliese Froese, Life University, soccer

Kacie Salon, Adrian College, rowing

Hanah Hull, Lansing CC, softball

Cassidy Henshaw, Michigan, track and field

Sielle Kearney, Northwestern, cross country

Tristen Szafranski, Grand Valley State, track

Morgan McGrew, Grand Valley State, track/cross country

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