From the Editor: Forging Forward with Stories Worth Telling

The "Unrivaled" package of our April edition features Yale's TD Ierlan, Princeton's Michael Sowers and Cornell's Jeff Teat, who were leading an Ivy League resurgence before the season was canceled.

What now?

That was the subject line of an impromptu (and socially distant) editorial meeting Friday here at US Lacrosse, as the magazine team played mental wall ball in the wake of this canceled season. Surreal and unprecedented were the two most summoned words.

What started with a trickle of announcements Wednesday precipitated an outright flood Thursday, culminating in the NCAA’s decision to shut down all winter and spring sports in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S.

About an hour into our discussion, Kenny DeJohn, our digital content editor, peered into his phone and saw that the NCAA had instructed schools “to grant relief for the use of a season for competition for student-athletes who have participated in spring sports.”

Translation: the NCAA will allow an extra year of eligibility to anyone whose seasons were cut short by this extraordinary global health crisis.

For college lacrosse, it means we may not have seen the last of this star-studded senior class that includes Grant Ament, Emily Hawryschuk, Katie Hoeg, TD Ierlan, Ally Kennedy, Kerrigan Miller, Michael Sowers and Jeff Teat.

It breathes new life into the story lines that captivated us for the first six weeks of the season.

In men’s lacrosse: Can Penn State live up to the hype? Is the Ivy League really this good? Is Syracuse primed to return to championship weekend?

In women’s lacrosse: Can anyone stop Carolina? Are Loyola and Notre Dame elite? Is Richmond for real?

Kenny stood up and excused himself from the meeting. The lacrosse community needed this flicker of hope, something to look forward to while mourning the lost 2020 campaign.

“Go,” I urged him. “Get it out there.”

Dozens of thousands of page views poured in over the next several hours, so much so that it’s already one of the most widely read articles we’ve ever produced.

We’re not ready to disengage. And your response to this news tells us you’re not ready either.

That’s why we’re forging forward with stories we were so eager to tell before the novel coronavirus consumed all sports everywhere.

This morning, we released the cover of our April edition, featuring Nelson Rice’s in-depth profile of Michael Sowers, the prolific Princeton scorer who was on pace to shatter the NCAA’s single-season points record before he and so many others had the rug pulled out from under them by this pandemic.

Sowers is the front man for a magazine that also features Yale’s TD Ierlan and Cornell’s Jeff Teat, an axis of excellence leading the resurgence of Ivy League lacrosse. (The package, entitled “Unrivaled,” has an unintended irony, seeing as how the Ivy was the first Division I domino to fall last week.)

There’s also a six-page spread on Syracuse’s Emily Hawryschuk, another must-read story shedding new light on one of the most talented individuals wielding a lacrosse stick today. 

The magazine went to press March 6. Within a matter of days, the context in which it will be consumed changed entirely.

Our writers worked tirelessly to prep these and other profiles we had planned for the coming weeks. Syracuse’s Jakob Phaup, Duke’s Dyson Williams, Stony Brook’s Ally Kennedy, North Carolina’s Chris Gray, the Rosenzweig sisters Gabby and Livy of Penn and Loyola, respectively — all have stories worth telling.

And we remain committed to telling them.

It might sting a little, wondering what could have been. But rubbing salt in this wound left by a lost season might just help us all heal, while giving these 2020 standouts their rightful time in the sun.

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