High School sports

Boys’ Latin boys lacrosse star Ben Smith rides resilient senior season into Under Armour All-America Game

Boys' Latin star Ben Smith will compete in the Under Armour All-America Boys Lacrosse Game on Saturday at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field after leading the Lakers to the MIAA A Conference championship.

The fourth-quarter task was daunting for the Boys’ Latin lacrosse team, but senior captain Ben Smith was ready, having already overcome plenty in the last year.

With their season on the line in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference quarterfinals at Loyola Blakefield — trailing by four goals with minutes to go — the Lakers proved resilient. Smith took the initiative.


After suffering an ACL tear in January 2020 and working his way back into top form for his senior year, the gifted attackman stayed on course that day by simply grinding and believing.

Two goals from his three-goal, one assist performance came in the decisive stretch as the Lakers closed with five straight goals for an 8-7 win. In leading Boys’ Latin to the conference championship — two more one-goal wins followed against McDonogh and Archbishop Spalding — Smith completed his playoff journey with eight goals and seven assists for a team-high 15 points.


Included was a three-goal, two-assist effort in the Lakers’ 9-8 victory over the Cavaliers that earned him Offensive Most Valuable Player honors in the championship game.

“My dream in high school was to win a MIAA championship, so to be able to accomplish that was crazy, and to be able to help my team the way I did with a bunch of the other seniors — that was just really cool to see. I was really proud. We were able to step up, and to be able to lead our team to a championship was super special,” he said.

The Penn commit, who made varsity as a freshman and closed his high school career with a 27-goal, 32-assist senior season for the 10-4 Lakers, will fulfill another dream Saturday when he plays in the 16th annual Under Armour All-America Game, set for 8 p.m. at Johns Hopkins’ Homewood Field in Baltimore.

“It’s such a huge honor,” he said. “I always watched the game growing up as a kid and through high school and then started knowing kids who played in it. To be considered one of the top kids in the country — it’s just great competition and a great game. I’m just super honored and super excited to play with the best players in the country.”

Ben Smith closed his high school career with a 27-goal, 32-assist senior season for the Lakers.

Boys’ Latin coach Brian Farrell said nobody is more deserving of the honor than Smith.

He saw first-hand all the hard work his senior put in to get back on the field. He appreciated Smith’s natural leadership abilities that were vital in the uncertain times brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The days and weeks and months of the last year — including the lost 2020 season — was dominated by constant change, and Smith’s steadiness as one of the team’s four captains never wavered.

“It was such a challenging year and I always say leadership is so important when there is change, when there’s something difficult. Ben’s been well respected since he made the team as a freshman, and when you have that level of respect, when he got serious and set the tone, the guys lined up behind him,” Farrell said.


On the field, Smith’s work shows a complete attackman that brought confidence to the team, whether the ball was in his stick or not.

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McDonogh senior defenseman Scotty Hilgartner, a club lacrosse teammate and close friend, said defending against Smith over their high school careers brought the best out of each other.

“It’s always a fun game being able to match up against him, but, at the same time, it’s definitely a challenge because he’s such a good player on and off the ball,” Hilgartner said. “A lot of players are usually either really good with the ball, dodging, going to the goal or they’re kind of like an off ball, cutting inside guy that can catch and shoot. But Ben is such a good player in that he does both well..”

Ben Smith's three-goal, two-assist effort in the Lakers’ 9-8 victory over Spalding earned him Offensive Most Valuable Player honors in the MIAA A Conference championship game.

It wasn’t until the midway point of the condensed 11-game regular season that Smith felt fully confident that his knee and conditioning was at the level he was accustomed to playing. The Lakers benefited greatly. In their playoff run, each of their three wins avenged regular-season losses.

“We always look for guys in our program that refuse to lose, guys that want to compete at no matter what — whether it’s tic-tac-toe or a quarterfinal game,” Farrell said. “To have your senior captain be one of those guys is a huge factor because they don’t want their season to end, they don’t want their BL careers to end. Ben gave us one of the more gritty playoff runs we’ve seen in a real long time. That’s just his personality. Not only is he a fun-loving kid and well respected, but he’s a fiercely competitive kid that wants to do well and win.”

Smith learned a lot about himself in the past 1 ½ years, including the ability to shrug off any doubts and the importance of staying on course with attention to every last detail. Mostly, he realized that with hard work, anything can be accomplished.


His role among the team’s captains was often laying down the law to keep the Lakers on the championship path. After the title game, a measure of relief came with the outpouring of joy. Celebrating with teammates was a unique experience he’ll look back on fondly.

“It was pretty fun just to, like, not be the bad guy,” he said. “To just be able to sit back and relax with my teammates and enjoy that our team won the championship.”