St. Mary’s Will Tominovich and Archbishop Spalding’s Kristin O’Neill have watched the Senior All-America Game since elementary school. Like any young athlete, they imagined they were there, playing the game alongside the other titans of high school senior-level lacrosse.
Like any young athletes in 2020, however, they won’t really get to realize that dream — and they’re OK with that. Tominovich, who graduated from St. Mary’s in the spring, is one of 44 athletes across the country selected to the 2020 Under Armour Senior All-America Lacrosse Team. Tominovich, a highly rated defender headed to Georgetown this fall, joins defender BJ Burlace in 2019 and goaltender Aleric Fyock in 2018 as recipients of the honor.
“It’s awesome. St. Mary’s has a rich tradition of lacrosse and I’m blessed to have been a part of it. I’m glad I can rep the school in a positive way,” Tominovich said.
O’Neill, who also graduated in the spring, joined a few other Marylanders in the midfield group of the Under Armour Senior All-America girls South squad. Though her season was trimmed short in 2020, O’Neill dominated the field in 2019, tallying 85 goals and 17 assists.
She’d been wondering what was going to become of the award, especially after coronavirus shook up or shut down everything else this year.
“You never know until you get picked, but when I heard about it, I just thought it was so cool,” O’Neill said. “Unfortunately, we can’t have the game.”
Spalding coach Tara Shea would have been shocked if her top player hadn’t.
I think it’s incredibly worthy for sure. In fact, had she not, it would have been upsetting and alarming. One of the best finishers through the midfield that played the high school game, and in the IAAM,” the coach said.
The selection is the only honor this year. The All-Star game, originally set to take place in Baltimore on Saturday, was canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The regional games, however, got underway this week.
“It’s definitely a disappointment, but obviously there’s bigger problems going on in the world. I look at it like it is what it is,” Tominovich said. “There’s not a lot I can do. There’s no point being mad or upset.”
Most days, O’Neill gets up and works out. There’s not much else to be done as the pandemic roars on.
“It can get hard sometimes. Having amazing news like this, what you’ve always wanted since like middle school, keeps me going, gets me really excited for hopefully next season — as long as we can have it,” the Penn State commit said.
Both players have continued training hard since their spring seasons shut down. Tominovich still considers the honor a genuine blessing, a sign that recognizes his hard work paid off. In 2019, Tominovich rounded up 55 ground balls and caused 20 turnovers.
St. Mary’s coach Victor Lilly believes it’s deserved recognition just before Tominovich takes the next step to the Division I level.
“He outworks other people. His time in the weight room, his footwork is phenomenal. The amount of effort he puts in to improve himself and his teammates,” Lilly said. “As one of our captains, he really led the last year extremely well, along with Alex Wicks and Nick Lilly.”
That’s why as much as it is a “bummer” to not play the game, Shea hopes the recognition is enough for O’Neill.
“Knowing there is no tryout, you have to pave your own way in your prior years. The best kids were elected to that team,” Shea said. “That gives her confidence going into college career. It’s a bummer not playing the game, but that honor itself, in the world of girls lacrosse now, that’s what every kid is working towards.”
A big band of younger Saints made the Under-Armour Underclass roster as well. On the Baltimore boys “command” team, Teddy Androus, Erik Chick and Nick Golini all made the cut, as did Severna Park’s Ashby Shepherd, Kent Island’s Kasey Heath and Severn’s Nick Sotiropoulos-Lawrence and Jacob Todd.
St. Mary’s defender Colin Burlace, two-way midfielder Will Brimhall and goalie Wes Schmidt made the Baltimore “highlight” squad.
“It’s awesome. The programs in good hands,” Tominovich said. “They’re going to leave it better than they found it. It shows the talent at St. Mary’s.”
On the Baltimore girls “command” squad, Severna Park’s Alyssa Chung made the list, as well as St. Mary’s Camryn Pfundstein.
Gracie Driggs of St. Mary’s, Kori Edmondson of Severn, Elyse Finnelle of Southern, Caroline Keane of Arundel and Isabella Saviano of Archbishop Spalding made the Baltimore girls “highlight” team.
“I wouldn’t have made this team without all the underclassmen,” O’Neill said of her fellow Spalding teammates, “as well as those older than me, who did Under Armour, too. I’m so proud of them [the underclassmen]. I know they’re going to do amazing in it. I’m just thankful.”
Nick Kaufman (St. Mary’s) made the Washington, D.C., region “highlight” boys squad, while on the girls side, the Saints’ Brayden Cannelli made the D.C. girls “command” team, as did Severna Park’s Charlotte Diez, Severn’s Isabelle Leech and Zoee Stencil and Archbishop Spalding’s Maddie Wrenn. Kara Hunt of South River made the D.C. girls “highlight” team.
The girls regional games began Thursday and will run through Friday, while the boys games begin Saturday and will continue through Sunday at Meadowood Regional Park in Baltimore County.
A rising star
Severna Park rising senior Jackson Merrill found a way to stand out from a crowd. While competing with his baseball team, 5-Star Carolina, in the Perfect Game WWBA Championship, the Falcons infielder kicked off the game with a two-run hit and batted for .500 during the week with an OPS of 1.667. He also made the All-Tournament team.
Merrill was additionally named All-Tournament at the the USA Baseball National Championship, where he hit for .400. The Army West-Point commit batted .450 for the summer.
The summer has proven to be a trial by fire for Merrill. With his 5-Star Carolina squad, Merrill’s traveled all over the South and Appalachia, all while improving his swing and solidifying his already steady fielding at third base.
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“It felt really good to be improving and getting better. ... I really had to work on my lower half. I don’t really give my legs into the ball as much as I should,” Merrill said. “... I was all arms.”
He’s toiled closely with a trainer over the summer to improve his step-off.
“What I’m really looking forward to doing is going to a tournament in Jupiter, Florida, in the fall,” Merrill said, “and looking to see if I can improve anything as far as the [Major League Baseball] draft.”
New field hockey coach needed
St. Mary’s is in need of a new varsity field hockey coach. Contact Saints athletic director Allison Fondale at email@example.com for more information.