There are very few times in sports where an event transcends the boundaries of teams, allegiances, and rivalries. Last night, one of those moments occurred, and it changed the face of lacrosse forever.
Loyola's Joe Fletcher, Princeton's Tommy Schreiber, Duke's Jordan Wolf, and Albany's Miles and Lyle Thompson joined friends, family, and lacrosse fans in Washington, D.C. for the presentation of the 14th annual Tewaaraton Award. Explained to newcomers or non-fans as "the Heisman of Lacrosse", the Tewaaraton (which means 'lacrosse' in Mohawk), goes to the top player in NCAA Divsion I Lacrosse as voted by a committee made up of ten college coaches. Former Wahoo standouts Chris Rotelli (2003), Matt Ward (2006), and Steele Stanwick (2011) have won the prestigious award, all following National Championship seasons. Virginia's three recipients match Syracuse for the most in the award's short history. Cavalier Head Coach Dom Starsia is a member of the Men's Selection Committee, along with coaches like Bill Tierney (Denver), Mike Pressler (Bryant), and Lars Tiffany (Brown).
History was made two-fold last evening as Lyle and Miles became the first ever co-champions in award history, as well as the first ever Native American recipients. In order for that feat to be achieved, all ten members of the committee had to unanimously agree on the tie, something no one could predict, but everyone agreed with.
When was the last time 10 lacrosse coaches did ANYTHING unanimously?— Terry Foy (@TerenceFoy) May 30, 2014
What the Thompsons have achieved this past year is, for the lack of a better word, amazing. Miles, a 23 year old senior for the Great Danes, and Lyle, a 21 year old junior, combined to become the only same-team duo to break 100 points in the same season.
Miles finished with 82 goals and 37 assists for a cool 119 points, which would have led the nation if not for little brother Lyle, who tallied 51 scores and 77 assists for 128 points. Both Thompsons broke the NCAA record for points in a season, set by Steve Marohl from UMBC by way of 114 points in 1992.
Albany led Division I in scoring this season (surprise, surprise), putting up an impressive 15.95 goals per game. Miles led the nation with 4.56 goals per game, Lyle led with 4.28 assists per game, and the duo went one and two in points per game with Lyle's 7.11 in first and Miles's 6.61 in second.
While many anticipated Lyle taking the award for his record breaking season, no one would have batted an eye if older brother Miles swooped in for the steal. The tie is better than anyone could have hoped for.
At Albany, the Thompsons, along with their cousin Ty, accounted for 61% of the goals scored by the Great Danes, as well as a staggering 75% of their assists for the season.
Against Harvard, Miles scored eight goals. Three of them were behind the back.
This compilation of Lyle's feats does it much more justice than typing could ever do:
In a time where "Duke Lacrosse" still makes people think 'rape scandal' rather than Casey Carroll, and the public still leans towards the prepster, self-entitled image, players like Miles and Lyle have been a welcome change to the culture.
The Thompsons featured in many news outlets throughout the country this season, breaking through on the main stage more than any players in recent memory. Their dedication to the 'Creator's Game' and style of play made them fan favorites and dared you not to find them refreshing and entertaining at the same time.
Back in March, the New York times featured the Thompson Trio on the front page. NPR got in on the action, and so did Policy Mic. They have been a mainstay at Inside Lacrosse (LOVE the photos from IL's Casey Vock), and even ESPN's home page noted their nomination as finalists and their record breaking. USA Today? Why not.
SportsCenter even aired a piece on the Thompson Trio and their bond with the Creator's Game in a recent Sports Center Featured piece called 'Spirit of the Game'. Check it out...it's worth the watch.
So, congratulations to Lyle and Miles on their impressive achievements. This award could not have gone to a more deserving duo.