Working a lacrosse camp at Georgetown Prep last week, Pat Frazier had plenty of young athletes approach him with excitement.
Frazier, a 2011 Georgetown Prep graduate and a long-stick midfielder at Loyola University, wasn’t shocked by the third-through-eighth graders’ reaction to his presence at the clinic.
“It’s like I’ve become a mini celebrity in Bethesda,” Frazier said.
And with good reason. The Greyhounds won the NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse title May 28 by beating the University of Maryland, securing Loyola’s first championship.
“The kids come up to me and said congrats. They ask, ‘How’d it feel?’ And I’m more than happy to talk about it,” he said.
Frazier, who played in two games this season for the 18-1 Greyhounds, is used to receiving extra attention following Loyola’s historic victory. It began immediately after the final, a 9-3 blowout of Maryland at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., when the team retreated to the locker room.
“I came in to my phone and there were 50 or 60 texts and tons of missed calls. It was unbelievable support from my good friends and other people I might not have talked to in a while. Some people I didn’t even have their numbers.”
At this time last year, there was doubt whether Frazier would be playing lacrosse for any team, let alone the NCAA champion. A late-bloomer at Georgetown Prep, he didn’t have many Division I lacrosse offers, but wanted to attend Loyola for its academic reputation. Coach Kevin Giblin at Georgetown Prep helped Frazier learn that there was one spot open for a walk-on and Frazier decided to give it a shot.
“I took that chance to play at the Division I level,” he said. “I tried out for three weeks in the fall and made the team as a walk-on. It took a while acclimating yourself with the college game. They’re bigger, faster and stronger.”
This after graduating from one of the top high school lacrosse programs in the nation. Frazier said the biggest adjustment he had to make last season wasn’t necessarily related to his physical skills, but the mental speed of the game.
“The speed of the game is definitely a lot faster,” said Frazier, who was joined on the roster by one other Montgomery County product, freshman goalkeeper Pat McEnerney (Our Lady of Good Counsel). “Obviously Prep has a fairly solid reputation for being competitive and producing a lot of college players. That definitely helped me. But the decision-making was tough. Understanding where you need to be on the field. In high school, you could sort of get away with that a little bit. In college, you have to be more deliberate with your actions.”
The 6-foot, 180-pound middie, who also played soccer for four years at Prep, said a particularly telling moment for him in a season that included plenty of highlights — a 13-8 win against Duke, topping Denver three times, including twice in the postseason — came while looking up into the stands at the young fans desiring autographs or asking for pads.
“I used to go to the games in Baltimore and beg for their pads. To think that I was those kids a few years ago and now they’re looking at you in that sort of light, it kind of changed my perspective,” said Frazier.
So, how does winning the Interstate Athletic Conference championship his senior year of high school compare to winning an NCAA title as a college freshman?
“It’s similar in that sense that you’ve reached the top and all the goals you set at the beginning of the season,” Frazier said. “But at Loyola we were sort of the underdog. In the IAC, it was almost assumed it would be Prep and Landon in the championship. We loved being the underdog very much. Nothing compares to a national championship. That small class of elite company. Storming the field, I’ll never forget it.”