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Charlie Olmert, Harvard men’s lacrosse captain and Annapolis resident, named a Senior CLASS Award first team All-American

There are very few Harvard lacrosse players, past or present, who have squeezed more out of the Ivy League experience than Charlie Olmert. The Annapolis resident completely immersed himself in being a Harvard man — academically, athletically, culturally and philanthropically.

Proof of that came last week when Olmert was named a Senior CLASS Award first team All-American. He was one of just five Division I lacrosse players selected for the honor.

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The Severn School graduate was recognized for the leadership he displayed as Harvard’s captain, the academic dedication that produced an almost perfect grade point average and a volunteer spirit that benefited both the campus and greater Boston communities.

“It’s a great honor and I’m thankful to be recognized for being more than just a lacrosse player,” Olmert said. “This award will always remind me of all the awesome experiences I had at Harvard. It’s also a reminder of all the hard work I put in and great times I had with teammates.”

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The Senior Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School Award focuses on the total package and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

To be eligible, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior or graduate student and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: classroom, community, character and competition. Olmert, a Severn School graduate, met that mandate in a major way.

Harvard Men's Lacrosse, vs. NJIT - Harvard lacrosse player Charlie Olmert, a Severn School graduate and Annapolis resident.

Classroom

Olmert recently graduated from Harvard with a 3.98 cumulative grade point average, ranking within the top 5% of the class.

Olmert earned a degree in history and literature, an honors major at Harvard, while also pursuing a minor in economics. He wrote a senior thesis about the Federal Reserve that combined history with economics.

Olmert, who served as a peer advisor with the history and literature department, was named a John Harvard Scholar and received the Detur Book Prize. He was also named one of 64 national finalists for the Rhodes Scholarship and earned the highest grade of double high honors for his capstone junior essay.

“I’m competitive and want to do the best I can in the classroom just like I do on the athletic field,” Olmert said.

Harvard lacrosse player Charlie Olmert, a Severn School graduate and Annapolis resident, is shown in action during a game this season against NJIT. Olmert was named a Senior CLASS Award first team All-American, one of just five Division I lacrosse players selected for that elite honor.

Character

Olmert’s character came through long before he was voted captain by teammates. He provided tremendous leadership and guidance in helping lead Harvard men’s lacrosse through the pandemic, which curtailed the 2020 season after just a few games and completely canceled the 2021 campaign for Ivy League programs.

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Olmert stayed in close contact with teammates and was a constant source of motivation as they trained together in small groups. He was also a source of inspiration after overcoming multiple injuries and surgeries during his career.

Olmert sustained a broken ankle his junior year of high school that required two separate surgeries months apart. At Harvard, he initially suffered a sports hernia that required surgery. Shortly thereafter he started having back pain caused by a bulging disc.

Doctors soon discovered the back problems were being caused by a torn hip labrum, an injury that resulted in yet another surgery.

“I think all our players have seen first-hand the dedication and commitment Charlie has shown the team by working so hard rehabbing after every surgery to get back on the field,” Harvard head coach Gerry Byrne said. “Charlie is a very honest and human type of person, so he shared the lessons of his struggles with injuries, thereby showing teammates it’s alright to be vulnerable and open up about tough things you are going through.”

Charlie Olmert, left, is shown in this file photo while playing for Severn. Olmert, now a senior at Harvard, was named a Senior CLASS Award first team All-American, one of just five Division I lacrosse players selected for that elite honor.

Community

Not many Ivy League men’s lacrosse players were involved with more community-related activities as Olmert.

Olmert began working with Harlem Lacrosse-Boston, an organization that provides opportunities in the sport for students in urban public schools across the country. He specifically worked with middle school students from the Donald McKay School in east Boston.

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During the pandemic, Olmert conducted weekly Zoom sessions with the seventh and eighth graders to discuss lacrosse and a wide range of other issues.

When students returned to campus for the 2021-22 school year, Olmert committed to “diving deeper” into the project in order to make more of an impact. He recruited teammate Steve Cuccurullo and together they conducted in-person practices twice a week for the group of 10 to 15 middle schoolers.

“Growing up in Annapolis, I was so fortunate to have former college All-Americans as coaches at every level,” said Olmert, who also arranged for the Donald McKay School lacrosse players to attend Harvard games on a regular basis. “I wanted to give these kids access to a similar type of coaching and show them the love and passion we have for lacrosse.”

Olmert has also been out front for Harvard’s involvement with Team Impact, which partners college athletic teams with children battling serious illness and disability. Harvard men’s lacrosse adopted Braxton Moore, a fifth grader with disabilities, as an honorary member of the team.

“So much has been given to me and I’ve been so fortunate in life. I feel I have a responsibility to give something back,” Olmert said.

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Olmert has also played an integral role in supporting the HEADstrong Foundation dedicated to the memory of former Hofstra lacrosse player Nick Colleluori, who died in 2006 of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 21. Olmert led the team’s fundraising efforts that raised more than $10,000 for the foundation.

Olmert also participated in Bike to the Beach — a 102-mile ride from Boston to Newport, Rhode Island, that raises money for autism awareness. He successfully completed the ride in 2017 and 2018, while spearheading a team fundraising effort that brought in more than $35,000.

“Because Charlie cares about his team and his college and his community so deeply, he chose to give so much of himself and dedicate so much time to all three,” Byrne said.

Byrne, who previously served as defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, marvels at the total package that is Charlie Olmert.

“I’ve been coaching for almost 20 years and have been around a lot of impressive people between Notre Dame and Harvard. Charlie is on my Mount Rushmore as far as the embodiment of a true student-athlete,” Byrne said. “Charlie is kind of a renaissance man in that he is so well-rounded and so talented at so many things.”

Harvard lacrosse player Charlie Olmert, a Severn School graduate and Annapolis resident, is shown in action during a game this season against Princeton. Olmert was named a Senior CLASS Award first team All-American, one of just five Division I lacrosse players selected for that elite honor.

Competition

Olmert saw significant action in all 13 games as a short stick defensive midfielder his freshman season. He was named second team All-New England Region after scooping 15 ground balls, causing five turnovers and scoring a goal.

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Olmert moved to offensive midfield as a sophomore and totaled six points while running on the second line.

After the pandemic, Olmert played only his third full season in 2022. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior started off playing offensive midfield and scored five goals before switching back to short stick defensive midfield the final four games of the season.

Byrne switched Olmert back to short stick defensive midfield for the final four games of the season, which was highlighted by a 19-16 upset of third-ranked Princeton that helped propel the Crimson into the NCAA Tournament.

“As the season went along, we needed Charlie more on the defensive side. Like a great teammate and leader, he was willing to do whatever he could to contribute,” Byrne said.

Harvard’s season came to a close with a 19-9 loss to sixth-seeded Rutgers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

“We played the Rutgers game on grass and I remember feeling the best running around a lacrosse field as I have in years,” Olmert said. “For so much of my career, just jogging out to practice hurt.”

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Byrne does not know what his 2022 co-captain will pursue professionally as a long-term career but has no doubt he will be successful.

“Charlie is a very competitive and very driven individual with humility and compassion. He will make a major impact in whatever field he chooses,” Byrne said.

“I’m very proud of Charlie because he truly distinguished himself, not only among student-athletes at Harvard, but within the entire student body.”


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