Senior midfielder Erin Tenneson has helped Chesapeake-AA… (Barbara Haddock Taylor…)
One of the top girls lacrosse players in Anne Arundel County, Chesapeake-AA's Erin Tenneson followed her big brother Chris into sports, and her midfield play has been critical to keeping the Cougars (2-2) firmly in the middle of the pack in one of the state's toughest leagues. This season, the senior has 18 goals and three assists as well as 14 draw controls and 19 ground balls.
Tenneson, 18, also plays field hockey and basketball for the Cougars. A member of the National Honor Society, she earned a 4.75 GPA last semester. Her cumulative average is 4.43, and she ranks sixth in her class of 412. She plays club lacrosse with Maryland United and will play lacrosse next year at Duke.
How did you start playing lacrosse?
My brother was into lacrosse when he was younger, and I always wanted to be like my brother, so I just started to play. He's three years older.
How did you pick up the other sports you played?
Softball and soccer, I probably started at the same time. That was mainly because all the people I was around were playing. Then I was a cheerleader for a little bit, and when I say a little bit, it was a while. I think it was six or seven years. When I went into middle school, sixth grade, I started playing field hockey and stopped cheerleading. I've been playing basketball since I was little, too. And I started playing lacrosse in first grade.
What is your earliest lacrosse memory?
I don't know why, but I will always remember this: When I went to sign up for lacrosse when I was in kindergarten, they wouldn't let me sign up because I was too young, and I started to cry. (Laughs)
Did you ever go one-on-one in the backyard with Chris?
When I was first learning to play, he would help me with catching and stuff like that. One of the other things I remember was that at one of his lacrosse practices, I think it was before I started playing, they were doing sprints at the end of practice and I would always race them (laughs). I would run with the boys.
When did lacrosse become the No. 1 sport for you?
Probably fourth or fifth grade. I always wanted to start early and the rec team that I was with, they let me play two years up because I had an early birthday, so I was always playing with the older girls.
What do you love about the sport?
I just love playing it. When I have the ball in my stick, it's a whole different feeling. I love being on the field, the people I'm surrounded with, my team, my coaches and that's not just my high school team, but my club team who I've been with for a while, too.
How did you get your name out there to be seen by college coaches who can't come see you play for Chesapeake?
Mainly it was from club lacrosse in the summer. I started playing club ball in sixth grade, and every summer I would just go out and play tournaments.
When you talked about fourth or fifth grade, was that the time you knew you would probably play lacrosse in college?
Yeah. My mom asked me, "Do you want to play club ball?" and I said, "What's club ball?" I had no idea. She said, "It's if you want to keep playing after high school," and I said, "Yeah, I'll try it," and so it just developed from there.
When did you start drawing attention from college coaches?
Probably eighth or ninth grade, because ninth grade was when I started to play high school and I got to play with girls who were a lot older than me. That really helped. I think after that I just developed more skill from learning from older girls and also the girls on my club team.
What attracted you to Duke?
During my recruiting process, I was talking to a lot of different schools, so I was visiting schools and when I went down to Duke, I just really loved the campus. I felt at home there, and I felt that it was a good fit for me academically and athletically. I knew that I could — because I'm in the top 10 of my class — go somewhere and have the opportunity for a good education.
What are you most looking forward to about college lacrosse?
Just the level of play. I know it's going to be a completely different game from what I'm used to. I'm just really excited to be able to play with these people who know so much more than me and can help me develop more of my skills.
Did you ever wish you were on a Top 10 team?
I think that it would have been better if I had been on a better team, but I think it's also helped me realize that everyone has their potential and everyone tries their best. It's helped me learn that some people aren't going to be at the same level, but we still count on teamwork.
What do you like about your team?
We have so much fun on the field all the time, and with our new coaches this year, it was not a slow start, but we were kind of unsure what was going to happen and they just fit in so well. We can joke all the time. That's what I love the most because I like to have fun.
What's your most prized possession and why?
I would probably say my iPod. I take it with me everywhere. I have it in my bookbag right now. I'm always listening to music.
What kind of music do you like?
I like all different types of stuff — rap, rock, hip-hop.
Do you listen to that before games?
Yeah. I actually made our warmup CD for our home games. At one of our away games, their CD wasn't really that good. It was like something's missing, like, "Why aren't I pumped up?" It's the music. You don't think it's really that big a deal, but it is.