Maryland's Taylor Cummings became the first three-time winner of the Tewaaraton Award on Thursday night, adding the capstone to one of the finest women's college lacrosse careers ever.
Five others have won the award twice — three women and two men — but Cummings' overflowing trophy case now includes a third bronze sculpture of a Mohawk Indian playing the native American game. She joined men's winner Dylan Molloy, from Brown, in receiving to receive the award at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
"It's really exciting and it's also extremely humbling and a huge honor. I'm just so happy that I've been able to represent my university the past four years in college and the past three years at this event," said Cummings after her three-peat gave Maryland its fifth straight Tewaaraton and its seventh in the 16-year history of the award. "I know without a doubt that I wouldn't be here without my amazing team, my coaches, my family, my friends and everyone at Maryland who's helped me throughout my years. It's an individual honor that has my name on it, but it should really have all those people's names on it too."
The McDonogh graduate led the Terps to the national championship game all four years she's been in College Park. Although they lost to North Carolina in this year's title game on Sunday, the Terps won the national championship in 2014 and 2015. The Tar Heels, who finished the season No. 1, did not have a player among the five finalists who were chosen before the NCAA tournament.
Although Cummings' career didn't end the way she wanted on the field, it couldn't have ended better off the field with her cherished teammates roaring their approval at the Tewaaraton ceremony just days after they "held onto each other," to get through the disappointment of losing the national championship.
"It's been a roller coaster of a week," said Cummings, who won the award on her 22nd birthday. "Definitely, I've felt the lowest of lows and I've also felt the highest of highs. Through all the good and the bad, my team has been there for me every step of the way… It's been a week that I will remember for the rest of my life — good and bad — but at the same time, it was kind of a release of pressure a little bit and I can kind of breathe."
A versatile midfielder who excelled all over the field, Cummings set Maryland single-season records with 144 draw controls and 52 caused turnovers. She was second on the team in goals (60), assists (19) and points.
Cummings, a member of the U.S. national team, is a four-time first-team All-American and two-time National Midfielder of the Year. She led the Terps to an 88-4 record over her four-year career. They won all 44 games they played in College Park.
Former Maryland star Jen Adams, the first Tewaaraton Award recipient as a senior, has long been regarded as the all-time best women's player, but she has said she believes Cummings is now the best ever to play the college game.
"There are really great players who go down as having all this individual success and obviously helping their team succeed and then there's another whole level where you put yourself into the history books as one of the best ever to put on a Maryland jersey and that's where Taylor Cummings lies," Adams said.
"She not only does all in terms of all the awards she's won, but if you go watch her play, it's her ability to make her teammates better and you walk away from every game and she's a name that's left an impression in your mind."
At McDonogh, Cummings won the final 69 lacrosse games she played, the start of the current 155-game winning streak. She led the Eagles to four Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championships and was a two-time Baltimore Sun Female Athlete of the Year.
The five Tewaaraton finalists included Maryland defender Alice Mercer (Century) as well as Syracuse attacker Kayla Treanor, a three-time finalist; Notre Dame defender Barbara Sullivan, a two-time finalist; and Florida midfielder Nicole Graziano.
In 2014, Cummings was the first sophomore to win the women's Tewaaraton and last year, she joined Maryland's Katie Schwarzmann (2012-13), Northwestern's Hannah Nielsen (2008-09) and Kristen Kjellman (2006-07), Syracuse's Mike Powell (2002, 2004) and Albany's Lyle Thompson (2014-15) as two-time winners.
Cummings and Schwarzmann have combined to win the last five women's awards. Adams, now the coach at Loyola Maryland, won in 2001 and Terps assistant coach Caitlyn (McFadden) Phipps, a Notre Dame Prep graduate, won in 2010 Two other women with local ties have also won the Tewaaraton — UMBC coach Amy (Appelt) Slade at Virginia in 2004 and Maryvale graduate Katie (Chrest) Erbe at Duke in 2005.
Molloy was named the Tewaaraton Award winner on the men's side. He led Division I in assists (54) and points (116) — the latter ranking as the fourth-highest total in the single season.
Molloy scored two goals in the No. 5 seed Bears' 15-14 overtime loss to top-seeded Maryland in Saturday's NCAA tournament semifinal at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia despite playing on a broken right foot.
A day later, Molloy earned the Lt. Raymond J. Enners Outstanding Player Award and the Lt. COL. J.I. (Jack) Turnbull Outstanding Attackman Award. He became the first Brown player to claim the Outstanding Player Award and joined Darren Lowe in 1992 as the second in program history to be selected Attackman of the Year.