Competitive as he is talented on the lacrosse field, Calvert Hall grad and first-team All-Metro goalie Greg Dutton found little consolation after his fine high school career ended with his team's overtime loss to McDonogh in the regular-season finale this spring.
A win would have put the Cardinals into the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference playoffs, but McDonogh senior attackman Tyler Frederick had other plans, making good use of a pick to roll to the right side and beat Dutton high for the game-winner.
If there was any slight consolation for Dutton, perhaps it was this: At least the goal he yielded was scored by a future Ohio State teammate.
"At first, I was just thinking about the season being over. But after the fact, I was thinking that I might be hearing about that goal for the next four years," he said.
Dutton, Frederick and another McDonogh standout, defenseman Joe Meurer — all first-team All-Metro selections this year — will be wearing Ohio State's scarlet and gray for the coming years.
But, first, the trio that headlines the Buckeyes' promising freshmen class will represent the South in the fifth annual Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic set for 8 p.m. Saturday at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium. The game will be shown live on ESPNU.
"There's so many great guys out there deserving of this opportunity, so I'm really thankful to be a part of it," Dutton said. "I'm just looking forward to competing with so many great players that I'm going to be playing with and playing against in college. It's going to be an unbelievable experience."
Saturday won't be the first time Dutton, Frederick and Meurer were all assembled on the same field representing the same team.
During their official visit at Ohio State last November, they watched the Buckeyes football team come away with a 27-24 overtime win against Iowa that assured OSU a spot in the Rose Bowl.
All three players were quick to mention that the school's rich sports tradition and spirit played a big role in deciding to go there. That night, they got an up-close-and-personal example, surrounded by 105,000 other Ohio State supporters.
"Every Ohio State football game is an unbelievable experience and we were lucky enough to catch the Big 10 championship. We all swarmed the field after it and I was like, 'Wow, I can't wait to be a part of this.' It was breathtaking. That basically sums up what Buckeye Nation is all about," said Meurer, who was the recipient of the J. Markland Kelly Award as the top high school player in Maryland.
The Ohio State men's lacrosse team, under third-year coach Nick Myers, is hoping to find similar success with Dutton, Frederick and Meurer providing a promising future. It's the first time the Buckeyes have had more than one Under Armour All-American in the same class.
"When you speak specifically about these three young men, I think they all bring a lot to the table — great character first and foremost. I think they really believe in the people that they are. You just get an immediate positive feeling from them," Myers said.
In addition to the big school atmosphere and chance to play for Myers, all three players were impressed with the school's academics and its facilities, along with the opportunity to help push the lacrosse team (7-8 this past season) over the top.
The program already has a strong group of MIAA blood: McDonogh grad and junior midfielder Patrick Toohey; former St. Mary's standout defenseman Joe Bonanni; and Calvert Hall alum and senior attackman Tyler Dolphin are among the area players currently on the roster.
As for this year's recruiting class, Dutton — who started three-plus years at Calvert Hall and brings fine instincts and leadership to the goal — was the first to sign last year as a high school junior. Frederick — a dynamic playmaker who finished with 33 goals and 24 assists this season — followed this past November. He then encouraged Meurer — a dominating and intense long-stick defender — to give Ohio State a look.
"Almost every day, Tyler was like 'Joe, you got to go to OSU. You just have to go up there and take a look,'" Meurer said. "Tyler wasn't even considering Ohio State until he went up and visited. He was just blown away by it like Greg and I."
All three considered a number of top-notch programs before deciding on Ohio State.
Dutton was looking at Syracuse, Harvard and Cornell, among others. Frederick also had Harvard on his list as well as North Carolina. Meurer thought Georgetown may have been where he ended up, or any of a number of Ivy League schools.
They are all happy to have selected Ohio State, and the fact they will be there together is much more than an added consolation.
"We've played with each other and against each other, so we know each other's play. And because we're all from Baltimore, it's going to be cool knowing we already have friends there," Frederick said. "But I think the main thing is we'll support each other and push each other and just be there to help each other."
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