Rambo Continues "Riding the Wave," Wins the Tewaaraton


Matt Rambo became the first men's player in Maryland history to take home the Tewaaraton Award.

Maryland star Matt Rambo has certainly had an eventful last four days. Rambo, the Terps’ de facto leader, helped his team to its first national championship on Monday afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

After a quick charter flight home. the celebration began. He hung with his teammates in between media obligations on Tuesday, and did the same on Wednesday before heading to Washington D.C. for the Tewaaraton youth clinic — which featured all five candidates on both the men's and women’s side.

“We’ve been just hanging with the team,” Rambo said, wearing a smile of someone who had just won a national title. “It ended too short a couple times, so days after that were more sad than happy. We’ve been celebrating and having a good time.”

Finally, Thursday arrived. It was the day many lacrosse fans had been waiting for for weeks, after the final 20 Tewaaraton Award candidates were announced and subsequently narrowed to just five players. 

After a 90-minute ceremony honoring the game's roots, it was Rambo’s time in the limelight. Maryland midfielder Zoe Stukenberg had just won the women’s Tewaaraton and Rambo, the school’s all-time leader in points (257) and goals (155), picked up the men's award at the National Museum for the American Indian.

And just like last weekend in Foxborough, it was a Terps' sweep. Rambo became the first men's player in Maryland history to win the award, beating out Yale’s Ben Reeves, Loyola’s Pat Spencer, Denver’s Trevor Baptiste and Albany’s Connor Fields.

Rambo gave a 90-second acceptance speech, and fittingly, ended with the words “Terp Nation.”

“I never thought this would happen,” Rambo said, his voice still hoarse from the celebration. “I just went there to be the best, like our motto, and try to win a national championship, so this is icing on top. It’s a pretty special moment, not just for me, but for my team, because this is a team award. I couldn’t do it without my teammates being in the right spots and being perfect.”

And he meant that. Rambo’s pals Colin Heacock, Tim Muller and Nick Manis all came to watch their teammate take home lacrosse's most prestigious individual award. After his name was announced, the hooting and hollering from his fan section could be heard throughout the auditorium.

Each is a part of a Maryland senior class that helped win its first national title since 1975. They’ll certainly have a lot of memories to take with them, but many of their favorites came off the field. Like when Heacock guided Rambo, with his eyes closed, through campus (he may have ran him into a tree once or twice), or when Rambo had trouble spelling Great Britain.

“We’re excited for him,” Heacock, who was wearing a Maryland flag tie, said. “It hasn’t been done in Maryland history. He deserves it. He’s a hard working guy. He’s a leader on the team. I can't think of someone who deserves it more.”

“This only made [winning the national championship] better,” Muller said.

Rambo’s personality and optimism resonated with his teammates on and off the field. He made sure to thank his line mates, including fellow senior Dylan Maltz. He said he was the sum of a great deal of parts on the Maryland attack.

What might have won Rambo the Tewaaraton was a two-game stretch in which he scored 16 points (two consecutive eight-point games) to lead Maryland to wins over Bryant and Albany and into the final four. The eight points was a career high, and he did it twice in a span of a week. He also broke Bobby Boniello’s school record for points in a win over Johns Hopkins on April 29.

He’s a player that made Terps’ coach John Tillman proud for four years.

“[Matt] has been such a good player for us, not just this year but for four years,” Tillman said. "He’s been so consistent. He’s been our go-to guy for really the last three years. …He’s really skilled and his competitive spirit is just about as good as anybody’s. His ability to bring to us what we needed this year, he adapted to what the team needed.”

What Maryland needed was to end its decades-long national championship drought, and Rambo was a key component is achieving that. The Terps made the national title game three times during Rambo’s four years, and he lived up the No. 1 jersey that had so much lore — with players like Andrew Whipple, Mike Mollot, Joe Walters, Grant Catalina and Mike Chanenchuk.

With an illustrious career behind him, Rambo will certainly be missed at College Park.

“We had our last meeting on Tuesday,” Tillman said. “Now, we’re starting to think about next year and I’m like, man, it’s kind of bittersweet and sad knowing that Matt won't be here in the fall, because he’s so much fun to be around. It’s one thing to have a good player, but it’s another to have a player that you love and care about and you love spending time with.”

Cramblet Wins the Tewaaraton Legend Award

Former Army star Pete Cramblet was honored with the Tewaaraton Legend Award, which recognized players that competed before the Tewaaraton Foundation began giving out the award in 2001.

Cramblet graduated from Army as the program’s all-time leading scoring with 150 points on 107 goals and 43 assists. He helped the Black Knights win a share of the 1969 national championship.

He was the type of player that, while playing at Huntington High School (N.Y.), he’d shovel the snow off the tennis courts in early Spring so that he could play lacrosse. 

When he was a senior at West Point, he was in rotation with his fellow teammates where one player would sit out every four games. It was his turn to to sit out on Senior Day, and he stayed true to his word. “‘I don’t have to start, Coach,’” he told US Lacrosse Hall of Fame Ace Adams.

“I’m proud to be a lacrosse player and I’m honored to be a legend,” Cramblet told the audience.

Boiardi Honored woth the Spirit of Tewaaraton Award

George Boiardi, the late star from Landon School and later Cornell, won the Spirit of Tewaaraton Award on Thursday night. Boiardi died in 2004 when he was struck in the chest with a ball during a Cornell game.

Boiardi planned to serve with Teach for America on South Dakota's Rosebud Reservation after graduating from Cornell. He was a captain on the 2004 Big Red team.

Former Big Red coach Jeff Tambroni spoke about his former player's influence on his team in the early 2000s. Then, a group of his former Landon and Cornell teammates accompanied his family on stage to accept the award. 

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