Centennial's Rowe beats the long odds

June 26, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

Snapshot: It's the Class 3A-4A state championship lacrosse game at UMBC. Centennial's No. 19 makes a hard right-handed drive one-on-one and scores the Eagles' first goal against

Annapolis.

Fans cheer. Few realize that the attackman who just scored is missing most of his left hand.

Bryan Rowe overcame great odds to score in that championship game.

Born six weeks prematurely, he entered the world with a normal left thumb and four abnormal fingers. Two fingers are stubs; two are joined.

Few expected the senior to earn a starting role this season; fewer still expected him to score 23 goals.

He had seen only spot duty as a junior, and the Eagles returned their entire starting attack from a county championship squad.

Undaunted by the odds, Rowe's written goal for 1994 was to be a starter. He achieved that goal and started every game.

"I'll be telling future teams about him and using him as a great example of what you can do when you put your mind to something," Centennial coach Mike Siegert said.

"He doesn't have size or speed or great moves, but he worked so hard that he surprised everyone and developed into a starter. He's an inspiration from a coach's perspective."

To improve his skills between his junior and senior seasons Rowe played summer lacrosse and then winter indoor lacrosse.

Because it was difficult for him to cradle left-handed, most of his scoring moves were right-handed.

"I don't think opposing players knew about it [left hand] and we had [David] Saunders, [Tony] Harding and [Rob] Hauff who score a lot, so no one tried to shut me down," Rowe said.

"I don't think about it that much, because it's always been that way and I just adapted. It wasn't a complete surprise that I started, but I thought I'd just go into the games for out-of-bounds riding again this season."

What opened a starting spot for Rowe was Siegert's decision to move Hauff, The Baltimore Sun's Howard County Player of the Year, from attack to midfield.

"We might not have been able to make that move had Bryan not played so well," Siegert said. "He was a key part of our success with his ability to ride, his attitude and hustle."

Rowe discovered lacrosse in the eighth grade and soon dropped baseball, where he was a catcher, and soccer, where he was a goalkeeper.

He also played youth league basketball for several years.

L "I love lacrosse, but I wouldn't die without it," Rowe said.

"There were lots of days when I felt like quitting because coach Siegert ran us a lot. I know I'm not a star and I accept my role. I'm a laid-back person."

Rowe's best game came against Mount Hebron during the league season when he scored four goals.

His mother, Mary, a former nurse, said that as a child Bryan never was coddled.

"We always made sure he climbed. A lot of his success is his outlook," she said. "God gave him a maturity and confidence beyond his years. He has a good sense of what he's all about and good support from family and friends."

Rowe also plays golf with left-handed clubs and plays a left-handed guitar.

His favorite band is the Grateful Dead, and he has tickets to both their concerts next month at RFK Stadium. "But I like any music from the '60s," he said.

He was co-President of Centennial's Human Relations Club, an organization designed to break down stereotypes. He graduated with a 3.17 GPA and will attend Virginia Tech.

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