The explosive cuts, powerful dodges and laser shots have all returned to Boys’ Latin lacrosse star Brendan Grimes’ lethal repertoire.
For the senior attackman from Lutherville, the back injury that abruptly ended his junior season last spring is behind him.
He’s now focused on what’s directly in front of him: A promising senior season for the Lakers and a more-than-likely roster spot on the United States under-19 men’s team, which is set to compete in the 2020 World Lacrosse Men’s U-19 Championship this summer in Ireland. The U.S. team is in the midst of offseason workouts with the spring season kicking into full gear next month.
“It feels great being around the team again — definitely an awesome feeling,” Grimes said. “While I was injured, I learned a different perspective from being on the sideline — about the sport, teammates. It made me hungry to come back and compete with my team and I’m looking forward to senior year.”
In the fourth game of the regular season last year, Grimes succumbed to the lower back pain he was experiencing and learned that he had a partial low lumbar stress fracture that kept a lacrosse stick out of his hands for three months. His physical therapy treatments were centered on core strength and flexibility.
Boys’ Latin coach Brian Farrell was impressed how Grimes overcame the frustration of not being able to help his team on the field and instead found other ways to support his teammates while fully committing to his rehabilitation.
“It showed the commitment Brendan had. Not only was he doing his rehab, but he stayed with the team and in some ways was inspiring the others to fill in a role that was hard to fill,” Farrell said. “He's grown a lot. It was a tough year for him not being in there with his buddies and not being on the field with his teammates, but he never felt sorry for himself, never wanted the team to feel sorry for himself and he just wanted to get back as soon as he could.”
Grimes received added motivation last May when he was one of 104 players to receive an invitation to try out for the U-19 team. The first tryout took place June 21, less than two weeks after he was cleared to play lacrosse.
“Coming into it I knew I was going to be a little rusty, but I just thought to myself that I was at the bottom and I have something to prove and I’m going to play the hardest I possibly can and fall back on what I’ve already done,” he said. “And whatever happens, happens. It’s been an incredible opportunity that I’ve been given, so I wanted to take advantage and not take the time for granted.”
Following a second tryout weekend last summer, a couple scrimmage games in November and the Spring Premiere in San Antonio in January, Grimes is one of 24 players remaining on the roster — and one of 10 high school players — with one final cut to be made before the team heads to Ireland in July.
“It’s quite an accomplishment for a guy that missed competition for an entire season,” Farrell said. “He started on varsity his first two years, so it might not have been as easy as riding a bike, but he definitely had to get back in the swing of things quickly because these are the nation’s best players. … I give him a lot of credit to how he approached the process. I know they made him do different things — they were pretty talented at attack, so they ran him through the midfield and he has been pretty selfless through the whole process and doing whatever they ask him to do.”
Farrell is excited to have the same kind of selfless play and leadership when Grimes takes to the field for the Lakers this spring. Ranked as the country’s No. 7 player in the 2020 class by Inside Lacrosse, Grimes takes 99 career goals into his senior season, including a program-record 61 as a sophomore that earned him All-Metro first-team honors in 2018.
Teammate Blake Gable, a senior defenseman who has played with Grimes since the fourth grade, is happy all of their one-on-one battles took place in practice only.
“Obviously he’s a great player, a matchup nightmare for any team we’re playing,” Gable said. “He’s been working so hard and seeing him back and not missing a beat during workouts and really looking as good as ever, it’s nice to see, especially this year with the high expectations the team has. It’s comforting to see his old self out there.”
Grimes, at 6 feet 4 and 215 pounds, has added more inches and pounds since he last took to the field for the Lakers.
He’s grown in other ways as well.
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“I definitely see myself as a more positive individual and not taking my time for granted,” he said. “Injuries can happen in an instant, so I’ve learned to cherish my team with my teammates and be positive, have a great time, be competitive and go hard because you never know when that can be taken away from you.”