At St. Mary's School, a four-year player is unusual. But a four-year starter with the versatility of Rob Chomo is what boys lacrosse coach Jim Moorhead calls "unique."
"It's unique that he's started for us all four years and has been a major player all four years," Moorhead said of Chomo, the senior attackman who is headed for the University of Maryland. "But he fit right into the system as a freshman and has developed into our team leader over the years."
That development, Moorhead said, has been underscored by Chomo's readiness to accept changing roles.
As a freshman called upon primarily to feed, he responded with 31 assists (and 25 goals).
"In my sophomore year, Mr. Moorhead wanted a little more scoring," said Chomo, who had 37 goals and 30 assists that season, "and last year he wanted me to score a lot more than feed."
After that 42-goal, 21-assist season -- his last of three with prolific fellow attackman Pat Ervin -- Chomo has been asked for even more.
"I'm comfortable in either role, but Mr. Moorhead and I agreed that I had to go to the goal a little bit more now that Pat is gone [to Loyola College]," Chomo said. "I didn't want to get pushed around, so I got into the weight room."
Strength coach Brad Best set a strict regimen of bench work and squats -- five days a week, starting at 5:45 a.m. -- and six months later, the result has been an increase of 20 pounds.
At 6 feet 3 and 205 pounds, Chomo is the unquestioned leader of one of the most physically imposing attacks in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference (Ryan Kelly and Greg Geiger round out a unit that averages 6-3 and 210 pounds).
"Some kids might relax and slack off in their senior year, but Rob has been the exact opposite," Moorhead said. "He's really worked hard to prepare for the season, and the other kids look up to that. There's no question that he's the leader. His leadership and stability are absolutely critical to us.
"He's a lot stronger. He's a great feeder as well as scorer. And even though other teams are going to put a lot of pressure on him, we think he has the ability to do the job."
Said senior midfielder David Jones, Chomo's close friend since first grade: "The offense has been built around Rob for a good while. Things go well when we get the ball to Chomo and just see how it goes from there."
That is the role Chomo relishes. "My dad has always said that the player I want to be is the one who gets the ball at the end of a game," he said. "Hopefully, I'm a modest person, but I do have self-confidence in that I know I can get the job done."
Chomo, also a standout basketball player, has a hamstring pull that will keep him out of action until the MSA season begins in earnest next week. But when he does return, Moorhead expects the blend of talent, confidence and leadership to have an impact on the fifth-ranked Saints.
"I thought we played pretty well in the second half vs. Broadneck [an 8-4 victory Thursday], but it's tough for the team to play without Rob," Moorhead said.
"A David Jones is important to us, but a midfielder is only on the field for a short time. We need Rob in there to run the offense."