Last night in the nation’s capital, this year’s Tewaaraton winners were crowned. Ben Reeves, the senior attackman and captain of the champion Yale Bulldogs, took home the men’s honor, while Sam Apuzzo of national runner-up Boston College captured the women’s.
Reeves edged a strong group of finalists that included Duke’s Justin Guterding, Maryland’s Connor Kelly, Loyola’s Pat Spencer and Denver’s Trevor Baptiste. Apuzzo beat out JMU’s Kristen Gaudian, UNC’s Marie McCool, Maryland’s Megan Whittle and, of course, Stony Brook’s Kylie Ohlmiller.
On the men’s side, Guterding broke the career goals record. Spencer may have been the country’s most dangerous player. And Kelly at times looked like the best of them all, although his case may have been hurt by playing for the most balanced offense among the finalists. I’m sure fans of these schools will gripe, but I could see an argument for any one of these guys. Baptiste, not so much.
Apuzzo edging out Kylie Ohlmiller was surprising to me. Ohlmiller put up gawdy numbers, plus she had the hype surrounding her, including a great ReLAXin’ with PCarc segment, that Tewaaraton winners usually have. Apuzzo’s advantage may have been that in addition to scoring, she was second in the nation in draw controls.
These selections sent a clear message: the committee likes winners. Not a lot separated the men, so they gave it to the champion. BC beat Stony Brook in the quarterfinal round after both teams posted perfect regular seasons.
Relying on team wins isn’t the right way to determine an individual award. This year, I don’t have much of a problem with it but I hope this isn’t the new precedent. More often than not, the most dominant player will be on a team that doesn’t reach the summit, like Dylan Molloy in 2016 or Lyle Thompson in 2015 & 2014.
Pat Spencer is the early favorite for next year, being the only returning finalist. We’ll have to wait and see how far they advance and whether the NCAA continues this best team’s best player line of thinking.
Other than that, some other guys to watch are Ethan Walker (Denver), Michael Kraus (Virginia), Jeff Teat (Cornell), Mikey Sowers (Princeton), Tehoka Nanticoke (Albany), Chris Gray (BU), and Jackson Morrill (Yale).