Geoff Shannon

What Makes an Ideal Lowe’s Senior CLASS Candidate? Let’s Look to the Past

by Geoff Shannon April 21, 2009 in Lacrosse

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Lacrosse, for a variety of circumstances, sits at the lower end of the totem pole among collegiate sports. This, arguably, is a great position for the sport to find itself in.

Lax enthusiasts have been able to follow the careers of this year’s candidates from the first moment they stepped on their respective campuses through this season. Every groundball scooped, every goal scored, every defensive turnover forced and every goal saved has been savored, all pieces of wonderful four-year resumes constructed by each player.

It’s a luxury lacrosse fans don’t take for granted. This sport is fortunate not to be dominated by ‘one and dones,’ athletes taking a short collegiate pit stop before moving on to multi-year contracts and the bright lights of professional stadiums. Lacrosse is dominated by players and coaches focused on life’s big picture. Academics and life ambitions are not separated, or considered weights holding down athletic performance. They are instead woven into the game’s fabric, and that explains why the sport ranks among the highest in terms of graduation rates.

That also means all ten seniors who are finalists for the award this season have built admirable athletic and academic resumes over their four years. So, with so much information to comb through, what exactly makes an ideal lacrosse Lowe’s Senior CLASS award candidate? 

To think of the future, let us consider the past. Cornell goalie Matt McMonagle was the first lacrosse player to receive the Lowe’s Senior CLASS award back in 2007. McMonagle hailed from the lacrosse hinterlands of Bryn Mawr, Pa. honing his game at the unheralded Episcopal School in the Philly area before committing to the Big Red. A tough talent, the lanky netminder worked his way into Cornell’s lineup as a freshman, starting nine games. He held strong to his starting spot for the rest of his career, leading the Big Red to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and earned All-American honors as a sophomore and junior.

Despite his career success, McMonagle check marked his on-field legacy his final year with the Big Red. He held down Cornell’s defense through a 13-0 regular season record and the program’s first NCAA semifinal appearance since 1988. As a senior, he led through his play and actions, and leaned on a talented group of teammates.

Besides the Lowe’s Senior CLASS award, McMonagle earned first-team All-American honors and the Ivy League Player of the Year award. He did all this while holding down a physics major, graduating with a 3.61 grade point average. 

McMonagle was a perfect example of a player who represented the Lowe’s Senior Class Award’s “4 C’s” – Classroom, Community, Character and Competition. There are wonderful candidates among this year’s crop of lacrosse players as well, seniors who are leading their teams on the field, in their studies and out in their community service.

This won’t be an easy decision.