If Christian Walsh's foray into the business world is as successful as his just-completed lacrosse career, look out Wall Street.
As he prepares to take a couple of months of leisure time — including a five-day junket to Mexican resort Cabo San Lucas with nine of his Duke senior teammates — before leaving for England to begin training for a career as a financial analyst in August, the Boys' Latin grad can look back with satisfaction on a job well done, academically and athletically.
Academically, Walsh finished with a 3.5 grade-point-average while graduating with a major in history and minor in business, the latter of which made him more attractive to his new employer, London-based HSBC. After learning the ropes in the English capitol, he will work in the New York City office of one the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations, boasting 54 million customers in 75 countries.
On the athletic side of things, Walsh started all 20 games for the Blue Devils, who capped off a 17-3 campaign by winning their second consecutive NCAA Division I championship by beating Notre Dame, 11-9, in the title game played in front of 25,000 fans at M&T Bank Stadium on Memorial Day.
The All-Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Team member, who moved to the midfield during the season after playing attack in his first two season for coach John Danowski, used a high lacrosse IQ to make the transition seamless.
Although he finished his junior season with just 16 goals and 17 assists, the 6-foot-1, 202-pound Walsh was praised for being a calming influence on the first midfield line with seniors David Lawson and Jake Tripucka that totaled 30 percent of the Blue Devils' scoring.
The starting unit was even more productive in 2014, registering 37 percent of the team's points as Walsh became the self-described "glue guy" running on the same line with precocious sophomores Deemer Class and Myles Jones.
"Myles is 'Showtime' and Deemer is 'Hollywood,'" Walsh said with a smile, after noting he had not played the position since the entering sixth grade at Boys' Latin after attending Rodgers Forge Elementary School.
And while all three earned All-America status, Class (First Team) and Jones (Second) received more of the glory than the veteran Walsh (Honorable Mention).
Nevertheless, Walsh's teammates and coach recognize his value after he contributed 93 goals and 71 assists during his time in Durham with the Devils.
"He's great leader," said Class, a Loyola Blakefield alumnus. "He really helped Myles and I come along. He taught us how to be 'agenda-free' players. That means not worrying about your own stats, but doing everything for the team. We took everything he said to heart."
Danowski said that Walsh's adjustment to playing midfield was not easy.
"He was used to being on the field the whole game," the coach said. "But Christian is mature beyond his years. He's all the things you would want in a senior leader."
Boys' Latin coach Bob Shriver said that it was no coincidence that Duke's fortunes improved because of the way Walsh embraced his new role.
"It wasn't until they moved him to midfield last year that they made that run," Shriver said. "He and (Jordan) Wolf are the guys that make that offense go. Everything runs through them."
Walsh was a prolific attackman at BL, finishing his two-year varsity career with 77 goals and 79 assists for the Lakers.
After a post-grad year at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, he started on attack as a freshman at Duke for a team that advanced to a 2011 semifinal in his hometown against Maryland. That game did not go well for Duke's offense, which was pushed around by the Terps in a 9-4 loss.
"I just wasn't ready to handle all of that emotion of playing in front of my friends and family in Baltimore," he said.
This year he promised himself the that the "joy" of living in the moment was the way to go.
And his biggest moment came early when, as he was plummeting toward the M&T Bank Stadium turf, he unleashed a one-hop shot that bounced perfectly into the upper right hand corner of the goal to give Duke a lead they would hold the rest of the way.
"It's not exactly what I was planning to do," Walsh admitted. "I didn't even know it was in until I heard the crowd."
He said that he is somewhat disappointed by not being taken in the professional Major League Lacrosse draft.
"Would I like to have been drafted? Sure," he said. "But if I never play lacrosse again, I'm pretty happy with how things turned out."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun