Chris Myers may not be able to score goals galore or dodge through a double team with aplomb, yet the Loyola University Maryland midfielder boasts at least one achievement that his fellow players at the NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse championship weekend in Philadelphia could not match.
The Calvert Hall graduate was named the 2016 recipient of the NCAA Elite 90 Award at the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Championships Banquet at the Franklin Institute two nights before the Greyhounds were eliminated from the postseason by eventual champion University of North Carolina in a national semifinal at Lincoln Financial Field.
The award is given to the player with the highest grade-point average participating in the final-four format.
The former walk-on's 3.915 grade-point average was tops among all the student-athletes, including his Loyola teammates and those from Brown University and the universities of Maryland and North Carolina.
Myers, a junior majoring in finance and minoring in information systems, has earned only two B's to go along with all A's in his three-year academic career at Evergreen.
Moreover, Myers was recently named to Loyola’s top student leadership panel, the Green and Grey Society, a 14-member group of students selected to represent the student body while interacting with the university president, administrators and board of trustees.
Myers is also a member in the Chi Alpha Sigma (college student-athletes), Alpha Sigma Nu (Jesuit colleges) and Beta Gamma Sigma (business honors) national honor societies as well as Loyola's Sellinger Scholars program.
"Even as a the announcer was describing a student with a 3.915 GPA as a finance major, I was still skeptical that they were talking about me," Myers said, noting the support and direction he receives from his mother, Michele, and father, Steve, is critical to his success. "My teammates were really happy for me."
At Calvert Hall, where he played lacrosse for coach Bryan Kelly, Myers was on the academic honor roll all four years and a member of the National Honor Society.
Originally thinking that he might want to play lacrosse al all in college and then pondering a career at the Division III level, Myers applied to and was accepted by Tufts University before deciding to stay closer to home and attend Loyola.
Then he dreamed of playing at the highest collegiate level for the Greyhounds.
Still, they were just a year removed from winning the national title when Myers contemplated trying out for the team loaded with talented players, making his chances of impressing Loyola coach Charley Toomey more of a long shot.
"Chris called me and told me he was thinking about trying out," Kelly said. "I called Charley and told him what a great kid Chris is, and what an asset he could be for the program. Chris just has a great attitude, works hard and is a winner of a human being.
"Besides, I told Chris that if he never tried, he'd never know whether he would make it or not," he added. "The worst that could happen is that he didn't make it."
The process was a daunting one, and one that lasted two weeks in the fall doing drills with recruited players.
"Initially, I was pretty nervous," Myers recalled. "But some seniors, Justin Ward, Brian Schultz and Joe Fletcher, just told me to play loose and do my best."
About two weeks into the process, Myers was rewarded.
"Coach called me into his office and told me the good news," he said, noting that he was the only one out of several freshmen hopefuls to get the nod from Toomey. "Thank God I didn't get cut."
While Myers played in only one game this season, Toomey said that having him on the roster as a practice player is invaluable to the Greyhounds.
"When we need a midfielder to play on the scout team, he knows everything about the position," Toomey said. "And when we need an attackman, it's the same thing. He knows what to do."
Toomey said that most walk-ons are subject to being demoted if a recruited player arrives to replace him.
Myers' situation, he said, is different.
"What you see from Chris academically is what you also see on the field," the coach added. "He's a high character kid, a leader in all facets of the school. He's a member of our team now, no matter what."