Freshman attacker Charlotte North of Dallas, Texas, leads Duke with 13 points on 12 goals and one assist.

North Shines as ‘Last-Spot Kid’ With Great Potential for Duke

Only 13 players competing on an ACC men’s or women’s lacrosse team hail from Texas – and just two of them are women, sophomore Morgan Widner of No. 3 Syracuse and freshman Charlotte North of No. 12 Duke.  

Widner quickly developed into a star player for the Orange, starting all 22 games last year as the team’s draw specialist with 156 draw controls, and North is on a similar track, thriving early for the Blue Devils.

In three games with three starts, North leads the young squad with 13 points on 12 goals and one assist, most recently netting a hat trick in Duke's 9-8 upset victory over then-No. 13 Northwestern on Sunday.

"Sometimes these last-spot kids end up being some of your best kids.” – Duke coach Kerstin Kimel

Both Texas natives are already succeeding, and yet both didn’t pursue college lacrosse until they were high school upperclassmen.

Syracuse extended an offer to Widner the summer before her senior year and North committed to Duke the summer before her junior year, which would be considered late in the recruiting landscape that stood before the landmark legislation hit the lacrosse world last April. Now, coaches cannot communicate with prospective student-athletes until Sept. 1 of their junior year of high school.

“Especially with recruiting right now being so heightened, I think that’s giving kids hope that there’s some place for them,” Duke coach Kerstin Kimel said. “If you aren’t recruited out of the gate or super early, that doesn’t mean you can’t be an excellent player at the college level.”

North came to Duke from the Episcopal School of Dallas, where she also played field hockey and basketball. She was a three-time all-state selection in lacrosse and her team’s Most Valuable Player, earning all-district honors as a junior and earning conference and state titles as a senior.

The accolades and attention didn’t start building until after she began her college search as a sophomore, yet North was determined.

“No matter what time you’re recruited, you have so much potential,” North said. “It’s just what you choose to do with your time and how hard you’re going to work until you actually get there.”

Because her older sister, Claire, attended Duke, North reached out to the school’s coaching staff during the spring of 2015 and immediately caught Kimel’s eye.

“We have always tended to recruit a little later than other people, so we had at least one spot left,” Kimel said. “We’re good about reading all our recruiting emails and clicking on videos, and this was a kid who I walked down the hall to my staff and said, ‘I just sent you something. You need to look at it.’”

They were instantly sold.

North visited the campus that summer, and by August, she committed.

“She was from Texas and we did recruit later, so we always talk about our last-spot kids,” Kimel said. “We’ve had some pretty great ones, and quite honestly, from some nontraditional areas, like Caroline Cryer, who was a great player and a [2007] Tewaaraton finalist for us that was a last-spot kid from Colorado.”

Though a New York native, Duke’s Carolyn Davis, a 2009 Tewaaraton finalist, was also a last-spot kid, Kimel said.


"No matter if you’re recruited your freshman year or your senior year you have that option to work just as hard as those people who were recruited earlier," said Duke freshman Charlotte North.

Early on, North has emulated that “last-spot-kid” mentality and prowess on the field.

“I think people talk about it all the time amongst the college coaches,” Kimel said. “Certainly the people who have coached or played in my program, like Chris Halfpenny at Notre Dame and Kristen Waagbo at Army, we laugh because sometimes these last-spot kids end up being some of your best kids.”

It’s a credit to North’s hard work, said senior Kyra Harney, who has taken her under her wing as an attacker.

Coming off the school's first losing season since 1996, Harney’s senior class decided their team should embody three key things as they push toward the postseason – consistency, excellence and courage – and North quickly molded to that vision, “always coming out early” and “always staying later” with her to practice more.

Harney noted North’s willingness to take risks as one of her most admirable attributes.

“That’s not a typical freshman quality,” Harney said. “I think it’s a testament to how much she loves the sport of lacrosse and how hard she’s worked. You look at Charlotte on our team in practice and you don’t see a freshman. You also don’t see that she’s from Texas or maybe she started lacrosse a little later than all of us. I’m from Long Island, so I started when I could basically breathe, but I just think she’s done a really great job. She’s definitely making Texas proud.”