Park School's Sonnenfeld chosen Owings Mills Times' Male Athlete of Year

Ham Sonnenfeld is one tough lacrosse player. Park School's senior goalie protected the crease area this spring — with a vengeance.

"He is somebody who enjoys contact, and there were a couple of plays where unnecessary roughness was called on a high hit," Park coach Lucky Mallonee said. "He had that mentality: If you come around here, you were going to pay a price."

The 2012 Owings Mills Times Athlete of the Year also brought his rugged style to basketball and soccer.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Sonnenfeld came off the bench as a center on the basketball court and played stopper in soccer.

"I was very aggressive," said Sonnenfeld, who co-captained both the lacrosse and soccer teams. "If you hit someone hard, they're much less likely to go up against you again. You have to go after the ball and do what it takes by putting a body into someone."

Sonnenfeld's best sport was clearly lacrosse. He'll be a walk-on at Dartmouth College next season.

He excelled in the classroom as well, carrying a 4.06 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) while participating in Park's Model U.N. program. Sonnefeld also organized an art show in May to exhibit his paintings and sculpture, took piano lessons, and won the school's Kelly Award for his scholarship and athleticism.

Sonnenfeld said the Dartmouth coaching staff have assured him a spot on the team as long as he passes a running test.

The four-year starter at Park finished as the school's all-time save leader with 658, breaking the mark of 555 set by Brad Mendelson, who went onto to play at Drew University in New Jersey.

Sonnenfeld earned Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference honors the last two seasons.

"He is as good a goalie as I have coached (in 37 years)," Mallonee said of Sonnenfeld. "I have never had anybody who was as big and athletic as Ham. He is a very good athlete, fearless and huge.

"He stayed in the goal any number of times over the last four years with injuries where others would have been sidelined," he added. "He broke his thumb last year and still played."

The Bruins struggled this season, going 5-10, but Sonnenfeld still played at a high level. His best efforts included a 20-save performance against defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference champion Friends and recorded 17 saves versus Archbishop Spalding.

"I thought he was very good inside the pipes this year," Mallonee said. "We didn't mind the other team shooting the ball because Ham could stop it. We wanted Ham to take over."

The 17-year-old Sonnenfeld said his role was to keep the games close and give the Bruins a chance for a win.

"We were always in games, and we never really got blown out," Sonnenfeld said. "I feel I played a role in that."

On the soccer field, Sonnenfeld was named an IAAM B Conference selection in his second year as a starter.

Besides being a standout on defense last fall, he contributed offensively and finished tied for second on the team with eight goals.

Five of those came on headers.

"Everybody was worried about us when we got down around the opposition's goal," said Mallonee, who also coached Park's boys soccer team. "He was 6-5 and good on head balls, corner kicks and throw-ins. He made us very dangerous."

Park basketball coach Justin McKnight would have loved to coach Sonnenfeld for four years in high school.

He played the sport in middle school at Park, but turned to squash during his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Sonnenfeld took up basketball again in his senior year. Despite coming off the bench all year, he ranked third on the team in points (14) and first in rebounds (12) per game.

"I think he would have been recruited by Division I schools if I had been able to coach him for four years," McKnight said. "He came out wanting to be the best player. He was the last one off the floor at practice. He would call me and try to figure out when we could have private workouts. He was a real student of the game."

Sonnenfeld had some memorable games for the Bruins, who went 16-7 overall and 13-3 in the C Conference.

He totaled 25 points and 15 rebounds in an 80-72 victory over B Conference foe Friends on Dec. 28 and shined three days later against first-place Indian Creek, scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a 60-53 conquest.

"I think some players were intimidated by him," McKnight said. "He was kind of the tough guy and enforcer in the C Conference. No one was as big and athletic as Ham. He took up a lot of space and used his size well. Guys couldn't get around him and move him."

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