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Men’s recruit: Malvern Prep junior midfielder Atkinson follows classmates, commits to Navy

Thursday, 27th January 2011

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School, Recruiting  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 1/27/11

Malvern Prep junior midfielder Russell Atkinson has made a verbal commitment to play lacrosse and enter the admissions process for the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md.

Malvern Prep junior Russell Atkinson has committed to Navy and is the fourth Friar to commit to play lacrosse at Annapolis (Photo by Warren Samolsky)

Atkinson was a member of a Friars team that shared the Inter-Ac League championship last year (13-8 record overall) with Haverford School. He also plays for the Duke’s Lacrosse Club.

Atkinson also starred for the French National team last summer at the FIL World Championships in Manchester, England. He had a team-high 13 goals and 9 assists in seven games.

Atkinson’s commitment announcement to Navy comes only days after teammate Kevin Samolsky (LSM/defenseman) committed to Navy. In addition, two Malvern Prep seniors – LSM Jack Morgenthaler and attackman TJ Hanzsche – also have committed to Navy and were strong influences.

“It’s always been a dream of mine since 8th grade,” said Atkinson. “I am glad to go to such a prestigious academy.”

Atkinson, a 1st Honors student, plans on majoring in Engineering.

“My motivation (to attend a military academy) came from my grandfather, who was in the Army,” Atkinson said. “Also, my uncle was in the Army. We have a strong military tradition in our family.

“Navy also has a great tradition for lacrosse. Coach (Richie) Meade says that it’s like having ACC athletics and Ivy League academics. It’s an honor to be able to play for a team with a great tradition that has been around for over a hundred years.”

In all, Malvern Prep has 10 players committed to Division I colleges. Junior defensemen Eddie Morris (Johns Hopkins) and Jack Sheridan (Notre Dame) and seniors Keith Dreyer (Air Force, midfielder), Drew Kennedy (Johns Hopkins, face-off specialist), Vince Travaglini (Massachusetts, midfielder) and Mike Dougherty (St. Joseph’s, attackman) have committed to D1 schools.

Atkinson is confident the Friars can defend their Inter-Ac championship. He realizes that Haverford School – which has 12 seniors committed to Division I colleges – will go in as the favorite to many. Last year the Friars swept the Fords. Atkinson also is happy that former Haverford School and longtime Princeton assistant coach Dave Metzbower is the team’s new head coach.

“We are real fortunate to have him,” Atkinson said. “We expect great things. We have a tough schedule, but he’ll get us ready.”

Atkinson wanted to thank Metzbower, his youth coaches and his father, Russ, for getting him started in lacrosse.

“I started playing when I was 8,” Atkinson said. “He (his father) put a stick in my hands and said, ‘Go try it out.’ After that, I loved it.”

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