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The Baltimore Sun

All-county boys lacrosse: Glenelg's Wynne leaves lasting impression

Glenelg's Nick Wynne doesn't like talking about the numbers. The senior, who graduates owning Gladiator program records in every scoring category, didn't care much about the stats when he joined the varsity team as a sophomore, and his mentality hasn't changed much since.

"To be honest, I don't even know how many points I ended up with. … It was never about that for me," Wynne said. "As long as our team was winning, I was happy."

It's that unselfishness, the kind that ultimately helped the program to county titles each year Wynne was on varsity, that Gladiator coach Josh Hatmaker says puts Wynne in a class all his own.

"He's as humble a kid as you're going to find," Hatmaker said. "You hear about kids not caring about stats, but he literally didn't want to talk about them. At one point this season we put the team's stats up on the wall and he took them down. He wanted the focus to be on the team."

For as much as he may not want to discuss the totals, though, Wynne's ability to light up a scoreboard during his career was up there with the best the county has ever seen. The now two-time Player of the Year accumulated 284 points, on 169 goals and 115 assists, from his attack position.

This year he racked up 63 goals and 53 assists to tie Mt. Hebron's Jake Stevens as the county's leading scorer. The 116 total points, improving on Wynne's total of 110 as a junior, ranks among the top three all-time single-season scoring marks in county history.

River Hill's Scott Kenworthy set the record (121) in 2000.

Wynne "set the standard everyone else on the team wanted to live up to," Hatmaker said. "They see a kid who scored 110 points the year before out there busting his butt and going hard in practice and they realized that's how things are supposed to be done. He was the leader we needed him to be."

The evolution of Wynne as a player took him from being a complementary player alongside his older brother, Zach, as a sophomore to being the go-to guy setting up his younger brother, Mikey, and the rest of his teammates as a senior. To go along with his ever-changing role, Wynne says he had to work a lot on his field vision.

"Last year, I had a big problem of seeing the open guy too late," he said. "So over the summer I worked a lot on keeping my head up."

The work paid off to the tune of six more assists this spring compared to his junior campaign.

Hatmaker also notes other areas of growth.

"He anticipated things so much faster, and he began using his right hand a lot more than he has in the past," Hatmaker said.

There were plenty of big games, including six goals and six assists in a playoff victory over Mt. Hebron and a five-goal effort against South River in the District V championship contest. But the true mark of a great player is consistency, and Wynne, who is headed to play at Towson University next year, was as good as they come in that regard. He registered at least two points in every game.

While the season ended in disappointment, with Glenelg falling short in the 3A/2A state championship game against Hereford, Wynne says he leaves school with nothing but positive memories.

"The practices, the games, the shots, the hits … it's all going to stick with me," Wynne said. "I had a great time playing with all those guys, and I hope they had as much fun playing with me. We had a great run."

Named to the all-county first team are:

Attack

Steve Latona, Centennial. The Eagles' senior received the highest of praise from his coach Warren Michael, who claims Latona possesses the best shot of any player he's ever coached. "He's got incredibly quick hands, great reflexes and he gets the ball out of his stick so fast," Michael said. "He's just really an incredible shooter."

Latona finished with 33 goals and 16 assists on the season, leading the Centennial attack in total points. But it wasn't just about the scoring, as Latona doubled his ground ball total from his junior campaign with 54 this spring. His improved riding on clears was a great asset as well.

"He really worked on the other parts of his game to turn himself into a complete player," Michael said.

Jake Stevens, Mt. Hebron. No underclassman has ever put together the kind of offensive season that Stevens did this spring. The junior's 116 points (71 goals, 45 assists) tied Nick Wynne for tops in the county and he needed just 16 games to do it, giving him an average of 7.25 points each time out. Not the tallest kid, Stevens punished opponents with his sturdy frame and incredibly accurate shot.

"Once he got rolling, he became a machine … to the point where if team's weren't sliding right away, he was unstoppable," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's so strong, has such a quick first step and is pretty crafty too. He beats you in so many different ways."

Stevens saved some of his biggest games for the postseason, having a hand in all 10 of Mt. Hebron's goals (5 goals, 5 assists) against Centennial and going for eight goals and five assists against Glenelg. But just as impressive as the scoring were the little things. Stevens won 52 faceoffs and scooped up 87 ground balls this season.

Austin Tennessee, Atholton. An all-around athlete who also excelled as a football and basketball player at Atholton, Tennessee served as a converted midfielder this spring as a senior. His versatility, speed and field sense were tremendous assets for a Raiders' team that went 7-4 in county play. "His vision is something you simply can't teach," coach Jared Albert said. "He has the instincts to make the reads and then the skills to be able to get the ball to the right spots. His decision-making really stood out."

The speedy attack finished the year with 33 goals and 22 assists and served as a true leader for a rather young squad. "He was always willing to do what was best for the team, and he had that great ability to make those around him better," Albert said.

Mikey Wynne, Glenelg. After bursting onto the scene as a freshman, Wynne picked up right where he left off this spring. Even bigger and stronger, to go with his already incredible field sense, he was the perfect complementary piece to his older brother Nick.

"The kid is one of the smartest kids I've ever coached … he knows where he needs to be in almost every situation," coach Josh Hatmaker said. "The way he and Nick fed off one another, it was like they were playing backyard ball."

Despite missing three games because of a separated shoulder, the sophomore still finished third in the county with 80 points (51 goals and 29 assists). The 162 points he has compiled by the end of his sophomore year of high school is the most ever in that time frame by a county player.

Midfield

Mark Darden, Glenelg. Although small in stature, the Gladiator junior possessed such great quickness, dodging ability and instincts that he quickly became one of the most dangerous players in the county. "His first step was so quick, and when you combine that with the fact that he can go either way, defenders simply couldn't stay in front of him," coach Josh Hatmaker said.

After registering 30 points as a sophomore, Darden upped his total to 51 points (32 goals, 19 assists) this spring. He thrived at attacking from behind the net and also finishing in traffic. But he was just as valuable scooping up ground balls (76) and then transitioning up the field. "Being a little stronger allowed him to take contact and that took him to the next level," Hatmaker said.

Sean Harrison, Marriotts Ridge. Shifting up from a defensive midfield role as a sophomore, Harrison was asked to take on more of an offensive mind-set this year and he thrived. The three-sport athlete, who also plays a role on the Mustangs' soccer and basketball teams, developed into one of the county's most dangerous players with the ball in his stick.

"We knew he was talented. It was just a matter of getting an opportunity," coach Dan Sageman said. "With his size, strength and improved shot, he creates such a matchup problem. He became a dominant offensive player, while still serving as a shutdown defensive presence and a great weapon on faceoffs."

Harrison finished the season among the top 10 in the county in scoring (66 points) and ground balls (89). His 48 goals were 34 more than he had the previous season.

Dan Kaplan, Howard. Lions' coach Jimmy Creighton has a tough time quantifying just how much Kaplan has meant to the program over the past four years. "Dan has been the face of the Howard lacrosse program, a leader on and off the field," Creighton said. "Vocally and emotionally, he set the tone for us."

There are two-way midfielders and then there are guys like Kaplan, who literally do a little bit of everything for their team. An established scorer, he closed out his career with 57 points this year on 31 goals and 26 assists. He also was a strong defender and one of the top five players in the county in terms of ground balls (101). But Kaplan's greatest contributions might have come in Howard's clearing game, as he was often asked to take the ball end line to end line.

"With him, when that ball was in his stick, we were 99.5 percent sure we were getting it up to our offense," Creighton said. "He was so good at making the right decisions."

Tom Klotz, Wilde Lake. A four-year varsity player, who also was a star on the football team, Klotz was characterized by coach Jon Robinson as "a big, strong kid that plays with a lot of passion." With his height and athleticism, he certainly didn't shy away from traffic and he really used that to his advantage when it came to faceoffs and ground balls.

He didn't take all of the team's faceoffs, but when he did he achieved a success rate of 73 percent. On top of that, he scooped up 74 ground balls this season to give him 219 for his career. Klotz also was a force offensively, going for 27 goals and nine assists to up his career totals to 72 goals and 19 assists.

There was a direct correlation between Klotz maturing as a leader this year and the Wildecats achieving the program's highest win total (seven) since 2004.

Faceoff

Anthony Pagnotta, Glenelg. The Gladiator junior was so dominant in the faceoff circle this spring that the coaches unanimously voted to create a special spot for him on the all-county team. He not only won faceoffs, but he managed to demoralize opposing teams in the process. "He was our greatest weapon, and his ability to get opposing teams into scramble mode was unbelievable," coach Josh Hatmaker said. "Given our ability to score, teams literally found themselves in a game of make-it, take-it at times. He would get rolling and it was over."

A member of the wrestling team, Pagnotta used some of those same techniques to take over the circle on faceoffs. He finished with victories in 214 of the 324 faceoffs he took (66.0 percent). Against Hereford in the state championship game, he won 16 of 25 in the team's loss. On top of that, Pagnotta finished among the top five in the county in ground balls (101) and was a major reason Glenelg was among the county leaders in time of possession.

"Honestly, he was our best defender. … If the other team can't get the ball to their offense, it's awfully difficult to score," Hatmaker said.

Defense

Paul Bennett, Marriotts Ridge. Standing 6 feet 3 inches tall with an extremely long wingspan, Bennett wreaked havoc on opposing attackers. "He really uses his length to his advantage," coach Dan Sageman said. "On those occasions where he did make a mistake, he was able to correct it really quickly because of that great reach."

Sageman said Bennett was tasked with being the team's go-to close defender. Being a year wiser and stronger certainly helped in that role. Bennett finished with 33 caused turnovers and 72 ground balls on a defensive unit that averaged 4.24 goals against on the season.

Ben Carta, Glenelg. A second-year varsity player, Carta improved by leaps and bounds this spring. At 6-foot-3, with the athleticism to play a variety of opposing players, he gave the Gladiators plenty of versatility in the back.

"Ben's a freight train that loves contact, but at the same time he's athletic enough to get out and guard you," coach Josh Hatmaker said. "We could put him up the field on a middie or move him back on a close guy."

One of the areas of improvement for Carta was shortening up his checks to increase his takeaways (38 on the season). The junior also chipped in with 44 ground balls for a defense that held the opposition to five goals or less more than 50 percent of the time.

Blake Gleadall, Howard. The Lions lost three starting close defenders from last season, so there was definite pressure on Gleadall to step in and assume a prominent role. And, in true senior leader fashion, he delivered.

Gleadall scooped up 75 ground balls and had 35 takeaways while often matching up man-to-man on the opponent's top attacker.

"His physical play was much improved, and he did a really nice job of holding his ground and riding guys out," coach Jimmy Creighton said. "His stick checks were so much stronger and fine-tuned as well. He was the leader we needed as our other guys were learning the defense."

Alec Wendler, Marriotts Ridge. The senior was arguably the county's most versatile player on the defensive end. Capable of filling a number of different roles and guarding all types of different players, the four-year starter boasted a great balance of speed and strength. "We asked a lot of him and he consistently excelled," coach Dan Sageman said.

Wendler finished as the county leader in caused turnovers (59) and ground balls (116). To go along with the ground balls, he was a terrific weapon for the Mustangs on faceoffs. "He sometimes singlehandedly kept us in games," Sageman said. "When he saw that ball on the ground, he was on it. He played with a lot of heart to go with his speed and strength."

Goalie

Matt Oldhouser, River Hill. Having served as a backup last season, there wasn't a lot of buzz around Oldhouser entering this spring. It wasn't long, though, before the senior changed all that. "He could have started for a lot of teams last year, but he was behind an all-county guy in Ryan (Healy)," River Hill coach Keith Gonsouland said. "Matt really grew into the role this year, though. He went from being a really good ball stopper to also being a leader. He always gave us a chance to win."

Oldhouser never let himself get too high or too low, and that composure served as a calming presence for a River Hill team that went through its share of tough times this season on the way to a 6-10 record. He finished with 181 saves and a save percentage of .631. He helped hold five opponents to four goals or less.

Mack Schwarz, Marriotts Ridge. Having served as the main guy in a partial timeshare in goal for the Mustangs the previous couple of seasons, Schwarz took his position in the spotlight as a team captain this spring. "We talked going in that this was his show," coach Dan Sageman said.

The senior proved to be up to the challenge, leading the county with a save percentage of .710. He stopped 159 of the 224 shots opponents fired on net. "He really improved on giving up the low-angle shots by utilizing his size a lot more," Sageman said. "To score on him you were either going to have to be up close or coming down the middle."

Schwarz was also instrumental in the Marriotts Ridge clearing game.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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