Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Hoyas’ Captain Weathers the Storms Through Hard Work

Chris Taylor knows a thing or two about rainy days. The senior co-captain is from the Pacific Northwest after all.

In a season where the clouds have seemed to follow Georgetown, Taylor has been a constant ray of light for the Hoyas.

“He’s just a special kid,” Head Coach Dave Urick says. “He keeps a positive attitude, he’s upbeat and most importantly, he leads by example for the younger guys.”

Now a seasoned midfielder, Taylor has taken a unique road to big time lacrosse. His lacrosse career began 2,700 miles from the Hilltop, in Mercer Island, Wash., a place known more for rainy weather than its lacrosse talent. A standout football and lacrosse player in high school, Taylor didn’t catch the eye of many of the big names in lacrosse, but at the Peak 200 summer lacrosse camp in Springfield, Mass., he did catch Urick’s attention.

“Most coaches go to these camps just for the All-Star game to maximize their time,” the 19th year head coach said. “I was lucky to get up there early, and I’m wandering around as best as I can. Lo and behold this guy catches my eye and I make a point of his name. He just impressed me with his athleticism . he just caught my eyes. He’s one of those guys I thought, `boy this kid looks like a player.'”

The ever-humble Taylor downplays the story.

“I guess I just got lucky at a camp in the summer,” he says.

His coach may have seen special athletic ability in him, but Taylor said it was still intimidating coming to Georgetown to play with guys who had come from the big-name high school lacrosse programs such as Georgetown Prep and Landon. The transition to the polished East Coast style of play was also difficult for Taylor.

“It was intimidating at first,” Taylor says. “[The other players] knew each other, they knew guys who played for other teams.It was a tough transition too because of the speed and it’s a very different game from out West. It’s much more refined in the East. You had offensive and defensive midfielders, a whole new way of substituting. The rules were the same, but the dynamics of the game were completely different.”

And of course there were the jokes that came with being from the Seattle area.

“Most of it was about the weather,” senior co-captain Jake Samperton says. “I had never been out there and had never met anyone from there. It was always a running joke that he’s from Washington and most of us are from Maryland.”

“I still, to this day get – today, actually, it’s pouring down rain and I get comments like, oh, it’s just like home, ya know,” Taylor says on a rainy April afternoon.

After his freshman season, it was apparent that Taylor was going to do just fine playing on the East Coast. Appearing in 12 games, Taylor saw action as a defensive midfielder, earning the Outstanding Freshman Award. Still not the most skilled player on the field, the former all-conference safety in high school decided to make up for any deficiencies he had by working harder than everyone else to get himself in the best possible shape.

“Freshman year I realized I’m not the best stick handler on the team,” he says. “If I can’t be the best at that, there were some things I was good at and one of them was strength and running. I tried to get myself in the best shape possible in order to give myself a chance at contributing in any way for the team.”

Urick sees Taylor as one of the hardest workers he’s had, but says his impact isn’t always the type that grabs headlines.

“His work ethic is impeccable,” he says. “He works his tail off and he’s in great physical condition. I think he obviously would like to score more goals – all midfielders would like to score more – but his value as a defensive player and coming off the wings on faceoffs and picking the ball off the ground – it’s one of those things, like in basketball when a guy gets rebounds and the guy stirs the drink. Those aren’t the guys you necessarily read about, but without that kind of guy it’s tough to win.”

By his junior year the guy who “got lucky at a camp,” had become a captain on a preseason top-10 team. The only junior of the four captains that season, Taylor did not take the role of the vocal leader, a spot that was reserved for Brendan Cannon (COL ’08) and Miles Kass (MSB ’08). Instead, he led the best way he could: through his example.

“Chris is one of the best leaders I’ve ever been able to be a part of because of his work ethic and how hard he pushes everyone on the field every day and how hard he works,” Samperton says. “He’s got a motor that I’ve never seen before – he can run all day long at a speed most people can’t run 30 yards at. It makes him special on game day, but when you’re practicing with someone who moves as hard as he does for as long as he does it makes you want to get in the shape that he’s in.”

In a sport that is very much on the rise throughout the country, but particularly on the West Coast, Taylor has become a role model for young lacrosse players in the Seattle area who could only dream of playing college lacrosse at a school like Georgetown.

“He goes home for the summer and he has all this Georgetown lacrosse gear and the kids see it,” Urick says. “It really makes an impression on the kids out there who are eight and 10 years old. They see him and they think, `holy cow, this kid plays at Georgetown.’ That is one of the many things that helps the sport grow in many areas that you wouldn’t associate with lacrosse hotbeds.”

His example extends beyond the lacrosse field too, as he volunteers with Hoya Dreams, a program where Georgetown student athletes visit and host events for children in the Georgetown University Hospital.

“He’s one of those kids who steps up and gets involved,” Urick says. “He goes up and visits kids in the hospital, he is involved with Hoya Dreams. Chris is involved with that and he’s involved with any number of other things.”

For his senior season there wasn’t a question of whether Taylor would be captain – he was unanimously chosen by his teammates. Taylor’s senior season hasn’t gone according to plan, however. After beating Maryland in its season opener and rising to a No. 5 ranking, Georgetown has stumbled, losing six of its last 10 games, falling out of the rankings and all but ensuring that it will not make postseason play. Taylor, like the rest of the Hoyas, is disappointed with the way this season has gone, but he insists that, with three games remaining, this is no time to hang one’s head.

“It’s tough, but you have to put things in perspective. I’m just happy to be here,” he says. “You can’t win them all and you can’t take it too hard or personally. There are positives, and you can’t just focus on the negatives. Especially this year, it’s my senior year. It might not have been the dream season I hoped for, but I only have three games left, and if I spend the next three weeks sulking I think I’ll miss out on a lot.”

As for his plans for after May 2 – Georgetown’s final game of the season against Penn State – Taylor said, if given the opportunity, he wouldn’t mind playing lacrosse professionally.

“I’d love to play professionally,” he says. “It’s something that I would not want to pass up. It’s an opportunity to have some fun and play something you love and something that has been such a big part of my life at a higher level.”

Urick doesn’t see Taylor leaving the Hilltop just yet. The senior has talked to Georgetown about finishing up his pre-medical requirements next year which would mean he would have a fifth year of eligibility which he could use to join the track and field team.

“He’s talked to the track coaches about joining them, and one of the things that makes sense for me is for him to do the decathlon,” Urick says. “He’s fast, but that’s by lacrosse standards. I don’t know if he’s fast by track standards, but I know one thing, he’ll work his tail off and I think he could be a guy who could get a couple of points for the team. Nobody will work harder than him.”

He’s proven that an “outsider” can succeed on the lacrosse field – who’s to say it can’t happen on the track?

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