Pudgy and plump as a sophomore midfielder last year, Annapolis attackman Dan Flynn had no idea that he'd mature into the county public schools' most prolific lacrosse scorer a year later.
But with 30 goals and 10 assists, that's exactly what he is.
"Last year he was a little dumpy," admitted third-year Annapolis coach Dan Hart. "He came to practice an out-of-shape 15-year-old."
Flynn had only eight goals and five assists last year.
"I weighed190 pounds as a sophomore playing defensive end and linebacker during football season, but I worked hard over the summer to get the weight off," Flynn said.
Flynn, now 16 and a staunch 6-foot, 175-pound junior, spent long hours training in the summer sun with his older brother, Pat, a state champion wrestler. And as siblings are prone to be, the older brother was hard on his younger brother. In fact, he waslike a sergeant working a soldier.
There were the intense weightlifting sessions and the equally if not more rigorous goal-shooting sessions at the Naval Academy.
"We'd call a corner of the goal and try to hit it with a shot. We'd always try to outdo each other," said Pat, a midfielder on the Annapolis squad. "But after a while he was beating me and shooting better. He's started turning his hips into hisshot more, and now it's much more powerful and he's much more agile."
Said Dan, "My shot is still not where I want it to be, and I've still got a little baby fat."
But as Hart said, "(Flynn's) baby fat became muscle." And his improved shot and physical stature as well as the tenacity that carried over from the football season were good enough for Hart to promote him to the front line.
"The first day of practice he was a dominating figure right off the bat, and I knew then that Iwanted him near the goal," said Hart. "He had a good bull dodge. He's not going to beat you in a 50-yard --, but he's strong andquick moving from side to side. He was just so aggressive that he really earned the attack position."
Neither Hart nor Pat Flynn thought Dan would be as successful as he has been, but they each saw glimpses a year ago of the player he has become.
"He played great defense for us last year," said Pat, 17, who has 10 goals and six assists for the Panthers this season. "He and I played with Frank Jones on the second midfield last year, and Dan always got the best guy on the other team. I think he deserves to be on the attack."
Hart said, "By the end of the season he had really grown up. He had a great state championship game (Annapolis lost to Dulaney), scoring two goals. He's a very unselfish player this year -- a total team player."
Flynnattributes most of his success to the players around him, including Christian Boone (11 goals, 25 assists), Chris Turner (10, 17) and JonSongey (12, 4). He grew up playing with Boone in the GARCI, Annapolis Optimists and Peninsula Athletic leagues.
"Me and Dan have connected on a lot of goals, but he's the kind of guy who knows the team comes first," said Boone, a senior who is headed for Division III Washington College. "He just gets the ball more because that's the combination that has worked. We started realizing that he could put the ball in the goal."
Flynn is closing in on the goal-scoring effort by Mike Green, who had 41 goals and 30 assists before graduating last year.
"When you start scoring a lot of goals, everyone starts labeling you, and that leaves everyone else out, like the defense and the midfielders," said Flynn, who began playing lacrosse when he was 8. "Everyone on the team is basically the same in ability. I just think I got the opportunity to move to the front, and I'm trying to make the
most of the chance I got."
He has, with several big games this year. Flynn had two goals in the 5-4 season-opening win over Arundel,three goals and one assist in a 6-1 victory over Broadneck and four and one in an 8-3 win over Severna Park.
A student with a 3.6 grade-point average, Flynn is smart enough to know that he's not going toscore all of the goals all of the time.
"I definitely work hard on improving and developing my passes and assists. Sometimes I get madat myself when I miss shots or shoot bricks and don't score. But sometimes things just don't work out," said Flynn. "People sort of startputting a ring around your head like you're the team -- but I know I'm not the team. Really, I don't want that pressure."
Like it or not, Flynn was under pressure Tuesday by a North County defense that most observers consider to have the county's best goalkeeper in Tim McGeeney and the best overall defense.
Flynn was shut out for the first time this season in that game, just three days after having his best game of the year in a breathtaking 13-12 overtime victory over South River. His six-goal, one-assist effort against the Seahawks earned him the Anne Arundel County Sun's Player of the Week honors.