Todd Quenzer is working toward a future in the sports medical field. On the lacrosse field, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Boys' Latin defenseman engages in physical therapy.
"Nothing comes easy. When it's time to go body-to-body, I'll give 'em as much as he wants," said Quenzer, whose flanks are junior defenders Chris Gettman and Bennet Dear, an equally physical pair.
"I never think of myself as the best defender on our team. They TC [Gettman and Dear] like to throw the harder checks, but I'll throw one occasionally to annoy the guy," said Quenzer.
The Sykesville resident is among the best defenders in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference, but four years ago, he never would have dreamed he would be considering a lacrosse future at either Towson State or the University of Maryland.
"He's going to cover the Maury LaPointes [Mount St. Joseph], Michael Watsons [St. Mary's] and Matt Clunes [St. Mary's]," said coach Bob Shriver, whose fourth-ranked Division II champion Lakers (12-3) earned their eighth playoff berth in the past 10 years -- they've won two titles in five championship game appearances.
"If you look at the box scores, Todd's rarely allowed anyone to have an outstanding day."
In two victories over 11th-ranked Mount St. Joseph, Quenzer held LaPointe -- among the area's top scorers with 20 goals and 36 assists -- to just one assist. And in a 6-5 overtime loss to top-ranked, two-time defending MSA A champ St. Paul's, Quenzer limited All-Metro attackman Watson (37, 32) to two goals.
Quenzer held Clune (29, 24) without a goal or an assist in Tuesday's 8-6 Division II victory over the fifth-ranked Saints. The win avenged an earlier 10-9 overtime loss and secured the Lakers' third straight division title -- their seventh overall.
Quenzer will anchor the Lakers' defense in today's 3:45 p.m. playoff game against No. 1 Loyola. St. Paul's will play host to St. Mary's in the other A Conference semifinal. The championship game will be played Friday at 7 p.m. at UMBC.
"It's a very tough league, so every week, you do different things to eliminate what their attackmen can do," said Quenzer. "I just dig down deep, play position and -- maybe when the guys goes to throw -- I'll put my stick under his elbow and lift a little."
Quenzer has come a long way from when he first held a lacrosse stick as a freshman -- a moment that remains the most humbling of his high school career.
"I was only on JV, and everyone on the team could catch and throw. But I couldn't even put a stick on the ball," said Quenzer. "Before I got to Boys' Latin, I'd never known what a lacrosse stick was. It was pretty embarrassing."
Quenzer was convinced to play lacrosse by Mark Grochmal, an adviser at Boys' Latin who then coached the junior varsity. Grochmal took over the freshman-sophomore team the following season, and Quenzer elected to play on that team as a sophomore.
"It's definitely a weird story," said Quenzer, who played his first two seasons at midfield. "I wanted to improve my comprehension of some of the finer aspects, like learning how to slide on defense."
Quenzer spent a few months before his junior season playing in the Loch Raven Summer League. The experience combined with his skills as a center midfielder on the Lakers' soccer team, helped him to make the leap to the varsity.
In addition, Quenzer rubbed elbows with past Lakers' defensemen like Matt Ryan, Bart Roskovich and Stan Ross -- each a first-team All-Metro selection.
"There were days when Matt would stay after practice with me," said Quenzer. "We spent a lot of time working on checks and stick holds."
Quenzer's skills, along with his 3.3 grade-point average and 980 score on the Scholastic Assessment Test, make him an attractive prospect. He plans to study sports medicine.
"Todd's the most tireless player I've ever coached," Shriver said. "There are no days off when you're called on to cover the other team's top player every week."