McDonogh standout defenseman Alex Hurdle started thinking about playing in the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic when he was 10 years old, glued to the television set.
Now, it's his turn. The All-Metro first-team selection graduated from McDonogh this spring and is looking forward to playing with and against the country's top players. The Classic, in its ninth year, is set for Saturday at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium.
Signed to play at Notre Dame next season, Hurdle had a memorable senior year. It started in the fall, when he helped lead the McDonogh football team to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship.
As the Eagles' top running back, he rushed for 86 yards and a score in their 37-6 win over Gilman in the title game. In the spring, he was regularly responsible for every opponent's top scoring threat as the Eagles reached the MIAA A Conference semifinals, priming him for the chance at a starting job on Notre Dame's lacrosse team.
What was the feeling like when you received the invitation to play in the Under Armour All-America Boys Classic?
It's a real privilege to be invited to play in this. It's something I've been aspiring to ever since I was a little kid and watched the game on TV. I just can't wait — it's an opportunity to showcase my skills in front of a big crowd.
Do you remember the first time you watched the game?
I was probably 10 years old. I think I was watching, like, Steele Stanwick and [C.J.] Costabile when those guys were playing, just looking up to them and hoping to be like those guys one day.
What impressed you most about Notre Dame?
Notre Dame is going to give me a great opportunity to enrich myself academically and athletically at the next level. They have two starting jobs opening up at the defensive end, so I'm hoping to break into the starting lineup right away.
What do you think you can bring to Notre Dame's defense?
I think I provide the team with a lot of speed, aggressiveness and physicality. I make up [for] my lack of height with my speed. I have a great knowledge of the game — I've been playing it for a long time — so I hope that will me help me get a job.
How did playing lacrosse in the MIAA help prepare you for college play?
It's been a real privilege to play in this league for four years. It's great coaching and it prepares you well for the grind of college. You have two games a week in the MIAA, you're preparing each day for those teams and there's only really one day off a week, maybe. So it really gets you in that mindset of total lacrosse and preparation.
What's the best advice you've received?
My Dad always tells me to never take a day off because the other guy is going to be working just as hard if not harder trying to take your spot. So always stay with the grind and always work hard whether it's in the classroom, weight room or film room.
What has been the best day of your life?
Winning the MIAA championship in football, going undefeated and beating Gilman in the championship was one of the best days of my life. I worked really hard this football season, got the opportunity to carry the ball a lot to help my team out, so that was probably the best experience of my life so far. Hopefully, the next chapter would be winning a national championship.
Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic
Time: Boys at 5 p.m.; girls at 7:30 p.m.
Location: Johnny Unitas Stadium, Towson University
TV: Boys game on ESPNU
Tickets and more information: UnderArmourLacrosse.comCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun