Mencke aiming for final state tournament run with senior teammates
Thomas Mencke might be comfortable around the goal, but his frequency there tends to make opponents uncomfortable.
The scoring prowess of the Highland Park senior is the primary reason why he’s one of the most dynamic offensive players in Texas, for an HP squad that expects to contend for a state championship.
His lefthanded flair and uncanny finishing ability also attracted the attention of the powerhouse college program at the University of Virginia, where Mencke will play next season after signing with the Cavaliers in the fall.
“I’ve always wanted to play for a really good school,” Mencke said. Virginia, which won a national title in 2019. “I really like the coaches and I’m really excited about that. It’s an awesome fit for me.”
“We knew this season would be pretty special.”Thomas Mencke
Mencke said he watches other attacking lefties but has his own style, with the crafty ability to shoot from different release points.
“I would say I’m a pretty original player,” Mencke said. “I’ve always tried to put myself in position where I can score. It’s more of a mentality than anything.”
Mencke hails from an athletic Park Cities family. His oldest brother, Robert, was an HP lacrosse standout — albeit on defense — prior to playing collegiately at Harvard. Another sibling, Charles, was a rower at Cornell.
Like them, Thomas participated in several sports in elementary school but eventually settled on lacrosse and basketball. Always more elite in the former, he stopped playing hoops after last season.
With recruiting now in the rearview mirror, Mencke is focused on winning a Texas High School Lacrosse League state title with his longtime teammates.
Many of this year’s HP seniors won a THSLL Division II crown together during their freshman year. As sophomores, they were Division I runners-up. And last year, the season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the 2019 run, Mencke tallied three goals during a state semifinal victory over Austin Westlake, but was held scoreless in the championship game against ESD.
Mencke was a major factor when the Scots defeated the rival Eagles twice during the regular season this spring. The playoffs begin in late April, with the state tournament scheduled for May 8-9.
“All of the seniors now have been playing together since elementary school. We knew this season would be pretty special,” he said. “It’s a bigger deal to us now, since we didn’t get the chance last year.”
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