For recent Calvert Hall graduate Jack Sawyer, who closed out a standout four-year career captaining the No. 1 Cardinals lacrosse team to an unprecedented third straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship, this summer is both a time for reflection and hope for the future.
He fulfilled a childhood dream when he made his commitment to play at Maryland. His senior season was filled with production (39 goals, 28 assists), capped by a one-goal, five-assist performance in the championship game win over St. Mary’s.
He won’t forget the team’s day-by-day bond, the camaraderie in the locker room and the fierce competitiveness in practices, all leading to a 17-1 season.
“It was the final whistle of that championship game — that was incredible,” Sawyer said. “Last time in the Calvert Hall uniform and going out on top, I’ll never forget it. Just that feeling, there was nothing better.”
Sawyer’s icing on the cake comes Saturday at Johns Hopkins’ Homewood Field, when he’ll play for the South team in the 14th annual Under Armour All-America Boys Lacrosse Game at 8 p.m., joining teammate and fellow first-team All-Metro pick Grant Mitchell and St. Mary’s standout BJ Burlace.
“It’s an honor,” Sawyer said. “It’s more like my team prepared me. Everybody helped me to get to where I am today and I can’t thank my coaches and teammates enough. It just all added up and is really awesome.”
Sawyer’s skill set — he’s fast, an exceptional dodger, finds open spaces and can go right and left — is made for the showcase game that will feature the top players in the country. Burlace, a long-stick midfielder who played against Sawyer in the championship game, is happy to have him on his side. The two will be reuniting, having played club ball together last summer.
“I think with Jack, his elusiveness is the what’s key,” Burlace said. “He hurts you when you’re not expecting it. You take your eyes off him for one second and he’s already past you. He’s just crazy fast, athletic and hard to cover.”
The Calvert Hall program was the first to enjoy three straight MIAA A titles since the league’s inception in 1996. One of the team’s mottos was getting 5% better every day, and it showed. The Cardinals tore through the league, going 10-0 in the regular season before dominating in the playoffs, winning by 11 goals per game.
Sawyer said it all started with the seniors, who improved year by year from their freshman season.
“The seniors [from past teams] showed us how to get it done,” he said. “This year we came out being unselfish, not one person caring who got the goals and assists — just being a team. That was a goal we had and everything worked out really well.”
Sawyer’s contribution as a leader who lifted teammates and regularly stepped up in key moments was appreciated.
“He was a big part of why we were successful,” Calvert Hall junior midfielder Cole Herbert said. “Everybody looked up to him as the longest-tenured kid on the team and he just brought a great presence every day.”
Sawyer said his time at Calvert Hall — on the field and in the classroom — has him well prepared for success at Maryland with the 18-year-old already taking two classes this summer to get a jump on credits.
“Obviously, with the best players in the country, it’s going to be a fun time,” he said. “But it’s also a chance to display your talents and I think having played at Calvert Hall, I’m very prepared to go out there.”