As a long-stick midfielder for the No. 2 McDonogh boys lacrosse team, senior Eric Levin has had a season filled with tests.
They come regularly in practice when he goes up against teammates Austin Frederick and Brinton Valis. They continue in games where every Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference foe has a quality attackman that draws his attention.
"At this level, every week I'm playing against a top-notch midfielder and that only serves to make me better. Everyone in the league makes everyone else better when they get to the next level," Levin said.
In his third varsity season, Levin's play has helped the No. 2 Eagles (15-2, 8-1 in the MIAA) earn the second seed and a first-round bye in the upcoming playoffs.
In addition to lacrosse, Levin ran cross country his first two years of high school and has spent four years on the indoor track team. He has played the saxophone since fifth grade and is a member of McDonogh's concert band and percussion ensemble.
Maintaining a weighted 4.4 grade point average, he plans to play lacrosse at Swarthmore (Pa.) College and major in engineering.
What makes the Eagles special this season?
We're just a tight-knit group. Everybody is friends, and we all look out for each other. When somebody scores, it's like everybody on the team has scored. We all want the same thing and are trying to accomplish the same thing and the seniors, in general, have done a really good job of leading the team.
What is your role on the team?
I played defense and then in high school, coach [Andy] Hilgartner told me I was going to move to long-stick midfielder. Danny Sweeney and I both took the role of long-stick midfielder and have basically split time, and it's been a good opportunity. Being a runner, I love getting up and down the field, so I've really enjoyed playing long-stick midfielder.
What's it like competing in the MIAA on a game-by-game basis?
I've been thinking about how the NFL compares to this, and I can't imagine how players get through a 16-game NFL season. I'm beaten up and bruised at this point in the season and just every game is so physical and so important.
What's the best advice you've received?
I remember when I was a freshman running cross country, Kyle Rice, who was an attackman on the lacrosse team then, said it was tough to contribute on varsity your first year and you have to work really hard. I tried to push really, really hard so I could contribute as a sophomore on varsity. I understood what he was saying about it being a huge step from junior varsity to varsity.
What's the feeling like being so close to graduating?
I've been going to McDonogh since kindergarten, so this is my 13th year, and it's sort of sad to leave. But there's also a great opportunity looking forward. I just want to make sure to thank all my teachers for everything they've done for me. Generally, everybody here at McDonogh is really amazing.
How did you decide on Swarthmore?
Because of McDonogh, I knew I wanted to go to a smaller school to develop great relationships with my teachers as well. My dad had been pushing me to go to a school in a city or near a city, and Swarthmore is about 20 minutes outside Philadelphia. So there's some great opportunities to get internships. And they're also one of the few liberal arts schools that has engineering, so that was a big draw for me.