Multi-Sport Star Zawadi Brown Showcases Speed at NTDP Combine

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER


SPARKS, Md. — Zawadi Brown doesn’t come from a lacrosse hotbed. Brown and her peers didn’t pick up the sport until around fifth grade. Before then, Brown was busy swimming, playing basketball, trying her hand at rugby and competing in gymnastics.

A track star in Illinois starting around 8 years old, Brown soon fell in love with lacrosse. The sprinter who has competed in the 4x100, 200-meter, 400-meter and long jump events in the Illinois High School Association state championship showcased her speed this week at the National Team Development Program Combine at USA Lacrosse headquarters.

“Track has always been the base for me, and lacrosse was an easy way to show that speed and that ability in linear force and working horizontal because of cutting and dodging,” said Brown, who wowed evaluators and fellow combine invites during speed and jumping trials. “I’m a two-sport athlete, so I do track and lacrosse in the same season in high school and then also for club.”

Brown, 16, is entering her junior year at Neuqua Valley High School. She enjoys playing attack or the midfield but knows that she also thrives on defense as someone who can ignite transition chances. It’s rare to see Brown trailing a play. And if she is, she isn’t trailing for long.

At 14 years old, Brown finished eighth in the 400-meter race at nationals.

Although people in her town all began playing lacrosse around the same time, Brown said seeing talent on the East Coast was an eye-opening experience. Seeing people who are introduced to the sport so young challenged Brown to elevate her own game.

“I think I’m just a competitive person. I like to win,” Brown said. “I do like to show off, in a sense. Sports kinda gives you that. But I like being with people. I’m very extroverted. I like talking and being around people. Sports gives me that outlet.”







BROGDEN CUP WINNER RETURNS

Orly Sedransk, the goalie who helped the U16 Select team win the Brogden Cup last October, is back trying out for the team again.

A driven athlete whose Instagram profile is littered with workout videos and lacrosse photos and highlights, Sedransk came to this week’s combine comfortable. There wasn’t an arrogance in her tone or approach, but the clear confidence of someone who has been in this situation before.

“Between the years, I’ve become more mentally tough in situations like this,” she said. “I remember coming in super nervous last year but very excited. Making the team gave me a ton of confidence in myself. Coming back, I came in more confident and able to tackle all the drills.”

The 16-year-old who attend the Montclair Kimberley Academy in New Jersey doesn’t get rattled anymore if a shot gets passed her. For goalies, it’s always on to the next one. She’s learned that as she’s matured as a player.

“I’m able to make the saves, and if one goes in, I think it really comes down to the mental game,” she said. “I’m able to have a short memory. I don’t try to analyze it too much. I really try not to hang back on things. I’m mostly thinking, ‘Next one’s going to be mine.’”

NOTES

The combine invite pool for U16 features two sets of sisters — Gabby and Livy LaVerghetta (Garrison Forest, Md.) and Kate and Lauren Riley (Summit, N.J.). … 18 total players return from last year’s Select teams. Seven players return to U16 and 11 return to U18. … Ava LoPinto (U16) and Chloe Humphrey (U18) both had sisters tear up the college lacrosse season as freshmen in 2022. Emma LoPinto starred for Florida, and Ashley Humphrey set the single-season assists record playing for Stanford. … No need to do a double-take at the roster or email USA Lacrosse about a clerical error. Emerson Martin (Archbishop Spalding) and Emmerson Martin (Notre Dame Prep) — note the second “m” there — are both invites to the U16 combine. … Both the U16 and U18 team will be comprised of 22 players, with final rosters being revealed at a date to be determined.

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