Saturday, May 26, 2018

Roxbury Latin Alums Weitzel and Lowrie Prepare for NCAA Lax Final Four in Foxboro

Yale LSM Will Weitzel has helped the Bulldogs reach the NCAA lacrosse Final Four, and could see a familiar face in the championship game...   Photo courtesy of Yale Athletics.

By Michael Abelson (@ABELS0N)

Foxborough, Mass.
- Life is strange in how it connects and brings people back together.

Years after starring together on the lacrosse pitch at Roxbury Latin, Newton’s Will Weitzel and Foxboro’s Sean Lowrie are one win away from meeting each other for the NCAA Division 1 lacrosse national championship at Gillette Stadium.

“Obviously, I’m rooting for him,” Weitzel said of his former teammate Lowrie. “I’d love to have that high school rivalry come back in the championship game, but we have a game to win first. I haven’t been talking to him too much because I know how I am, I know how he is. I know how we’re focused on the game is more about [ourselves] than each other, so I haven’t talked to him all that much about it.”

The focus may currently be on Saturday's pair of national semifinals, which will pit Weitzel's Yale Bulldogs against No. 2 Albany at noon, and Lowrie's Duke Blue Devils against No. 1 Maryland at 2:30 pm, but the talent of these two former RL standouts speaks for itself.

Weitzel, the sophomore long-stick middie for Yale was a three-sport star at Roxbury Latin, and has developed in a jack-of-all-trades for the Bulldogs, excelling in his wing play on faceoffs.

Lowrie, a junior attack/midfielder for Duke has 23 points in each of his two seasons on the field with the Blue Devils, after missing freshman year due to injury. Roxbury Latin’s all-time leader in points (285), Lowrie also helped lead the Foxes to their winningest season ever in his senior year (14-3).

A key piece of a deep Duke offensive attack, Lowrie had two goals and an assist in Duke’s first round victory over Villanova.

The pair were almost college teammates, as Weitzel was heavily considering going to Duke. His father insisted that he look at Yale, his alma mater, and the rest is history. Weitzel’s father, Paul, was a tight end on Yale’s 1989 Ivy League championship football team.

“I had visited Duke. I was really excited to go,” Weitzel said. “My dad, who played football at Yale, said you got to go see Yale. You’ve got to go experience this. I said ‘Ok, I’ll go experience it. It’s your alma mater. It’s a school I’m interested in.’ It all kind of worked out. Yale was just a better fit for what I was.”

At Roxbury Latin, under the tutelage of Ben Courchesne, both players developed into all-around athletes and nationally-ranked lacrosse players.

The pair combined for 21 varsity letters during their time at RL.

“He played on the varsity for five years at RL, and he was the key offensive player for his last three years,” Courchesne said of Lowrie. “He did everything for us in that time -- lefty attackmen, two-way midfielder, ran pole a few times, etcetera, and he found a way to be effective in every role. He was completely shut off for most of his junior and senior years, but he still managed to break the RL scoring record.”

Courchesne, who now is an assistant coach at Episcopal High in Alexandria, VA., said that Weitzel’s ability on the basketball court, where he was the captain of the basketball team as a senior, helped him mature as a lacrosse player. By his junior year Weitzel was calling the defensive schemes from the field during the game.

While Courchesne spoke glowingly of his former players, his players spoke highly of how he developed them from raw young kids into talented elite players.

“He preached doing the fundamentals right, and learning every day at practice and getting better,” Weitzel said of Courchesne. "It’s nothing all that amazing in terms of he taught me one check or one little trick. It’s kind of like little things that build and build and you get better and better. The constant grind that they embrace has made me who I am today.”

Lowrie, who grew up in a house less than 15 minutes from Gillette Stadium, was greeted in the locker room this weekend by a customized, personalized Patriots jersey with his name and number emblazoned on it.

“I was a ball boy here a couple of years ago when I was younger,” Lowrie said. “I remember thinking I want to do this when I’m older. It’s awesome now that I’m here. It’s a little bit more special being in my hometown.”

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