OHIO CITY, Oh - One of the best defensemen in Ohio High School Lacrosse has committed to Marist College. Senior Tommy Nolan will continue his academic and athletic career as a Red Fox in New York at the Division I level. Nolan is coming off a 2022 season that saw him earn First Team All-Region at LSM.
"Coach Bernlohr was in touch with the coach at Marist, I got on the phone with them shortly after and the coaching staff and I hit it off right away," says Nolan. "I toured the campus and fell in love with the college."
Nolan is an anchor on the defense for the Wildcats as he is called upon the game in and out to cover the opponent's most talented athlete. In 2022, Nolan was the Long Stick Middie which is considered to be the most athletic possession you can be on a lacrosse field.
"I am thrilled to see Tommy continue at Marist College and play at the Division 1 level. Just seeing the way that kid works, the way he trains, the way he's obsessed with his craft, the way he cares for others, you can't help but be a believer in him," explains Head Lacrosse Coach Kyle Bernlohr. "I haven't been doing this forever, but over the last decade of being involved with lacrosse at the highest level as a player and coach, I have to say, Tommy is on a concise list of the hardest-working athletes I've ever seen. He has set the standard for what it means to play lacrosse at Saint Ignatius. Marist is getting an absolute grinder on the field but an even better person off it."
Nolan is a three-year letter award winner and has seen time at the varsity level since his sophomore year. Over time, Nolan has grown his strength and physicality on the lacrosse field, which makes him a top prospect in the class of 2023. "I focus on my physicality and studying the guy I am going up against to figure out his tendencies," Nolan explains. "I have also worked on my footwork to stay in front of an offense and dictate what they are going to do rather than them dictating what I do."
"He plays with a purpose and intensity on every play. He has that athletic demeanor to him and it keeps him locked in on any situation on the field and he works hard to get the other five guys on the same page," Bernlohr says. "His job isn't always pretty or flashy, but at the end of the day, that's not really what we're looking for. We want toughness and defensive organization, which play into Tommy's strength as a player and a leader."
The defense for the 2023 Lacrosse team is shaping up to be among the most talented in the program's history. Anchoring will be Nolan, but he will be joined by classmate Brightin Miller, committed to Salisbury University, and junior John Klinge, committed to the University of Utah. The communication between the defensemen will play a significant role in 2023. "Communication is everything. You can't be a team defense unless you are close with the guys next to you," Nolan says. "When you have trust in each other, it makes the game much more fun and you can play free, knowing everyone will do their job."
The class of 2023 showcases an amazon group of talent and Nolan will be stepping into a leadership role in his senior season. "Stepping up into a leadership role is something that I have been looking forward to and dreamt about; we have a ton of strong young talent," says Nolan. "Our freshman class is unreal this year; it's nice to get to know everyone and build the best team we can."
Since being named head coach, Bernlohr has seen the dedication from Nolan to perfect his game on the field as a teammate and player. "Tommy's footwork in speed training and strength in the weight room are unparalleled. The numbers he is putting up are pretty absurd. I think we know what we get from Tommy as an athlete, but we have taken a serious dive into his on-field technique on the defensive end," explains Bernlohr. "He's extremely detail-oriented and committed, so selfishly, it's just fun working with him on the subtle nuances of his game and squeezing every bit of talent we can get out of him, knowing that's what he wants for himself as well."
The spring season is just around the corner and the team will showcase a share of returning starters and first-year players. "We have seen many new talents emerge and guys step up given the opportunity," says Nolan. "You can tell everyone has the same goal and we're excited to see it come together."
Before Nolan becomes a Red Fox in the fall in Poughkeepsie, New York, at Marist College, he will look to lead the lacrosse Cats to their first-ever State Championship victory. Nolan and the rest of the group are hungry for the start of the season.