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PressBox High School Lacrosse Newsletter Vol. 37

August 26, 2015

PressBox's high school lacrosse e-mail by Maddie Brightman brings you all the best in local lacrosse -- boys and girls, private and public schools, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Check it out, pass it on and tell us what you think

Jack Crawford Leaves Loyola Blakefield After 13 Seasons

After 13 seasons, Loyola Blakefield head coach Jack Crawford has decided to hang up his blue and yellow duds. The longtime Dons coach announced his resignation Aug. 13. 

Crawford joined the Loyola Blakefield coaching staff in 2002, after serving as an assistant coach at Landon School in Bethesda, Md., and as head coach at The Thacher School in California. 

Loyola Blakefield Lacrosse 2015: Jack Crawford
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Loyola Blakefied

The Rockville, Md., native brought three MIAA A Conference titles to Chestnut Avenue, the most recent coming in 2013 against a then-No. 1 and undefeated Boys' Latin team. Under Crawford, Loyola Blakefield also won the league in 2007 and 2008. 

This past season, Crawford's team finished 9-5, with two wins against top 10 teams. 

"The timing just feels right," Crawford said in a release issued by the school. "The program could not be in a better place considering the quality of the coaches and other people associated with the team. We are also blessed with outstanding kids."

During his time with the Dons, Crawford relied heavily on his family's military background to mentor players and continue a lacrosse program rich in tradition and in accordance with the school's mission.

"As good as Jack is at running a successful sports team, his enthusiasm in the classroom is one of his greatest strengths," Loyola Blakefield principal John Marinacci said in the release. "His presence will be missed here at Blakefield."

Crawford hopes to explore other career opportunities and spend more time with his family after his resignation. Loyola Blakefield has yet to announce Crawford's replacement.

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Coach With Heavy Maryland High School Ties Wins Brine Coach Of The Year

John Tucker, the 2015 Brine Coach of the Year winner, holds a diverse background. From girls and boys in high school, all the way to the pros, Tucker has seen it all -- and with most of it happening right here in Maryland. 

The Archbishop Curley alumnus began his playing career in the eighth grade and led his high school alma mater to back-to-back championship titles in 1976 and 1977. Tucker played on the 1984 undefeated team at Johns Hopkins, and he later won championships with Team USA and the Major Indoor Lacrosse League team, the Philadelphia Wings. 

Tucker's lacrosse prestige and success continued as he coached eight high school teams to Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championships. He earned four with Severn School, three with Gilman and one with Loyola Blakefield. He also served as director of athletics and admissions at many of these schools. 

After making his mark on multiple Maryland high school powerhouses, Tucker coached a variety of professional MLL teams. He earned the same award in 2007 with the Los Angeles Riptides and this year with the Boston Cannons. 

In 2011, Tucker brought his career full circle and returned to coach at his alma mater, Archbishop Curley. 

This year's winner not only bares a history heavy in Maryland high school lacrosse, but also a current presence. Tucker now serves as the girls' coach at Baltimore Lutheran. He and his wife also created Coppermine Girls Lacrosse Club, where he works as director of lacrosse and college recruiting. 

Just like John, all members of the Tucker family bleed lacrosse. His wife, Janine, is the head women's coach at Johns Hopkins, and their sons, Ryan and Devin, played at the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins, respectively. Tucker's oldest son, Ryan, made his MLL debut with the Cannons this year on Fathers' Day. 

Tucker earned a unanimous 14 first-place votes, giving him 70 points to secure the Coach of the Year title. The Ohio Machine's Bear Davis, the former boys' lacrosse coach at Archbishop Spalding, finished second, and Chesapeake Bayhawks coach Dave Cottle was voted fifth.

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Q&A: C. Milton Wright Senior Attacker Emily Blair

Three torn ACLs later, and Emily Blair can't get away from the lacrosse field. Blair's passion for the game keeps the lacrosse stick in her hand, as she stands on the sidelines cheering for her teammates. 

Blair found her love for the sport eight years ago, when she was in the fourth grade. The Mustangs' newest senior fell in love with lacrosse after practicing with friends who already played on competitive teams. 

Her lacrosse career started in the midfield, but soon after making varsity at C. Milton Wright, she switched to attack. A determined and strong talent, Blair made varsity her sophomore year. 

Blair plays club lacrosse for Northeast Maryland Select (NEMS) and soccer at C. Milton Wright. When not on the lacrosse field, Blair is a member of National Honors Society, Best Buddies Club and student government. 

PressBox: What has been your biggest lacrosse challenge and how have you overcome it?

Emily Blair: My biggest lacrosse challenge has been tearing my ACL three times, which led to me missing multiple seasons of lacrosse. 

With the support of family, friends, coaches and teammates, I was able to overcome my first two surgeries and get back out on the field. I also think endless hours of going to physical therapy and my determination to get back on the field also helped me overcome this challenge. 

PB: What are the C. Milton Wright lacrosse team's plans for the fall?

EB: With a team full of many athletes, most of the team plays a fall sport, which takes priority over fall lacrosse. As a team, we encourage the girls to stay in shape throughout the fall, until winter, when we have workouts twice a week and girls can play for the indoor lacrosse team. 

PB: What do you consider your biggest lacrosse accomplishment?

EB: Due to my injuries, I am not going to college to play lacrosse, so my biggest accomplishment would be playing on my varsity lacrosse team and just getting back to playing after my ACL surgeries. 

After my second ACL surgery, I worked very hard to get back in shape and was determined to get back onto the field. Unfortunately, after getting back from my second surgery, I was not back long before tearing my ACL for the third time. However, I can say that I am proud of myself for working so hard and being determined to get back on the field after not one, but two surgeries. 

PB: How have your injuries made you a better player?

EB: My injuries have affected my game tremendously, but I've learned a lot from being out. After coming back from being injured, I found myself always giving my best at practices and games. I have also found myself coming back from my surgeries and being an even stronger player. Sitting on the sideline during games allowed me to really see what was going on, and I was able to learn many things from just watching.

For more from Blair, including the teammates she has looked up to and the most important qualities in a good lacrosse player, check out the full interview here.

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