Former Towson Lacrosse Player Now an Olympic Hopeful in Handball


Former Towson defenseman Nick Gorman tried his hand at handball and qualified for the U.S. national team.

Lacrosse has not been contested as an official Olympic sport since the 1908 games in London. But that detail isn’t stopping a former Towson men’s lacrosse player from reaching for Olympic dreams.

Well, sort of.

A member of the Tigers from 2014 to 2016 and a two-time Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) champion, former close defenseman Nick Gorman is one step closer to making an Olympic team. Just not in the sport he thought it might be.

After tryouts at Auburn last week, Gorman made the U.S. national handball team. Gorman and the U.S. side are one tournament away from qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

While team handball and lacrosse don’t appear to be similar on the surface, the games are closer related than one might think. Teams have six floor players at any time, along with a goalie, similar to a lacrosse team playing offense or defense. The internationally recognized game is played indoors on a field similar in size to a box lacrosse venue, which is often a hockey rink.

Team handball was a completely new sport to Gorman, who is originally from and now lives in Alabama for training. It was a sport he picked up on watching the last Olympiad in Socchi, Russia.

“The last Olympics, I turned on the TV one day and that was the one sport I watched through the end,” Gorman said. “It’s a team sport, so it goes the entire time [not cutting in and out]. I was watching and that got me interested, and I researched more about Team USA, which missed the last Olympics.”

Gorman soon discovered marketing aimed at former athletes, particularly college student-athletes. Linking up with USA Team Handball, Gorman found information about turning former athletes toward the sport.

Gorman built his fundamental base with hours of work playing wall ball, similar to the time lacrosse players devote to the same craft. A lifetime of playing lacrosse helped Gorman develop his ability to throw on the run. An avid pick-up basketball player, Gorman had the tools to dribble, as is necessary to advance the ball in team handball.

The coming weeks will be pretty similar to Gorman’s time at Towson: practice and work, work and practice. Now living near Auburn, Gorman will continue to hone his team handball skills.

“It’s similar to a Division I setup. I’ll find a part-time job, making enough to eat, live and maybe go out a little bit,” Gorman said. “I’ll get up in the morning, go run, go to work around noonish and then go to practice in the afternoon. Instead of school work, I’ll be doing a job instead.”

Gorman and Team USA will be looking to turn the nation’s tides at the forthcoming Pan American games in 2018. The U.S. finished eighth in the 2016 games and has not medaled since claiming third in 1996.

Perhaps Team USA’s luck will change in 2018 with the addition of Gorman and the Pan American tournament being held off the continental Americas and in Nuuk, Greenland. The last time the Pan American games were held off the mainland was in 1998, when the event was hosted in Havana, Cuba.

One thing will be certain: Gorman will bring championship experience to Team USA. Hopefully, he can extend that dream beyond the borders and into the Olympics.

John Stark is the assistant director for athletic communications at Towson. This article was originally distributed as a press release.

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