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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Childhood friends join together at college level

(Photo courtesy of Ryan Kilcoyne.)

Four fourth-graders join a club lacrosse team and become friends. Add a fifth to the mix in sixth grade and eleven years later they are juniors playing Division I at Marquette.

“The fact that we all ended up in the same place is really special,” junior defender David Lamarca said. “We’re just trying to live it up.”

The five players — Lamarca, Ryan Kilcoyne, Jamie Grant, Pierce Washburn and Justin Mintzer — all played for the same club lacrosse program: Looneys 2020 Orange.

All the players lived within a short distance of each other back home in Maryland.

Dave lives 10 minutes away from me. Jamie lives another 15 minutes away. Pierce 15 minutes away and then Justin lives a little bit further away from us, he lives about like 35 or 40 minutes away,” Kilcoyne said. 

Assistant coach Jacob Richard said that the group being close was an important recruiting factor.

“Lacrosse is a really small community, so everybody knows everybody already. Word-of-mouth is a really helpful tool when it comes to recruiting,” Richard said. “It just so happened that we unknowingly tapped into a really tight group when we started recruiting one of those guys.”

The recruiting process varies for everyone, and Lamarca said his class was no different.

“Mintzer and Jamie Grant were the first ones to go, it was close to 8th or 9th grade. Pierce followed shortly behind. I was about junior year and then Kilcoyne was right next to me,” Lamarca said. “It was all different. It was all spread over a certain period of time, but it was crazy how we all ended up on the same team.”

Lamarca said that he and the other guys convinced Kilcoyne to commit to Marquette.

“It wasn’t really that hard,” Lamarca said. “We already had four guys from our team and we’ve been best friends forever.”

With Maryland being a hotspot for lacrosse, Richards said to have a group of guys all from that area is beneficial for recruiting for the Marquette staff.

“We continue to go back to Baltimore and those guys are leaders in their communities at home, which allows our brand to carry to the east coast,” Richards said.

Kilcoyne said bouncing between high school lacrosse and club lacrosse helped the group prepare for their transition to college.

We had to do something similar in high school and go to a new team and play with new players,” Kilcoyne said. “That definitely prepared us coming in here because we played in a pretty good high school league, so we’ve been facing good competition for most of our lacrosse lives. Having to adapt to a new style, new scheme and new competition in general, we’ve been accustomed to that.”

Lamarca said, when the group first got to Marquette, they quickly gelled with the rest of the team.

Rather than us just separating ourselves and hanging out with the five of us we’ve ordered, we’ve really accepted everybody else and tried to build connections right away,” Lamarca said. 

It was easier to adjust to college lacrosse, Lamarca said with his friends by his side.

“Let the stress of Division One lacrosse go out the window. And just remember that we’re playing here with our friends,” Lamarca said. 

Head coach Andrew Stimmel said the wide variety of positions within the group breeds competitiveness within the program.

“It’s a collection of offensive and defensive guys, with a goalie as well. There’s some inherent competitiveness because they have known each other that long,” Stimmel said. “They’ve been a core piece of continuing to move our program forward.”

The competitiveness didn’t start at Marquette. Lamarca said it started when the players played on different high school teams.

We spent the summers playing together and in the springs competing against each other,” Lamarca said. “It’s definitely a really cool dynamic, getting to go against each other and then strapping up together in the summer.”

Stimmel said their ability to challenge each other helps to build the team up.

“Their connection to each other allows them to showcase the kind of brotherly love that they have for one another,” Stimmel said. “They can challenge not only themselves but challenge each other in those moments.”

Kilcoyne said that the group is ready for their connection to start to shine on the field.

“We’re all starting to become upperclassmen,” Kilcoyne said. “We’re all starting to get the sense of ‘we need to win now’ and we can win now because we’re definitely talented enough to.”

This story was written by John Gunville. He can be reached at j[email protected] or on Twitter @GunvilleJohn.

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About the Contributor
John Gunville, Sports Reporter
John is a Sports Reporter at the Wire. He is a senior from Hartland, WI studying international affairs and Spanish and minoring in economics. In his free time, John enjoys playing on the Birdhouse ultimate frisbee team and has been to over 200 Marquette men's basketball games. This year John is looking forward to growing as a writer and share his passion for Marquette sports.

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