By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/19/17
NCAA champion Jon Garino said going to the White House to be honored by President Donald Trump with his former Maryland teammates on Friday was a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
“Any time you’re able to be back in one place together as a team is always special,” said Garino, an Episcopal Academy/Duke’s LC grad who helped lead the Terps to the 2017 Division I championship. “The White House was awesome; just being able to walk around and see some of the history and art work was a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience, but being able to share it with my teammates and coaches definitely contributed a lot to the overall day.”
Garino was joined, among many, by Matt Rambo (La Salle, Duke’s LC), the Tewaaraton Trophy winner and scoring ace.
“It was such an honor to be recognized at the White House,” Rambo said. “To see all the history and beautiful art, statues, and monuments was truly amazing. Being with the all my teammates was awesome wouldn’t want to go there with anyone else.”
The Terps were one of many NCAA champions that accepted the invitation from President Trump.
“Being back together was awesome,” said Rambo, now and assistant coach at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and a pro indoor and outdoor player. “We have such a strong bond, but even after the championship I think our team is even closer than ever.
“When we’re together it’s like we never were not together. It’s always so fun, and winning the championship is something we will always have. It’s the best time with them.”
Garino said few got the chance to actually talk with Trump. Trump perked up when Maryland coach John Tillman introduced Dylan Maltz, who was sporting a tie with the commander in chief’s campaign sign.
“All the national championship team from different sports were set up all at once and President Trump went from team to team congratulating each one,” said Garino. “Some of my teammates upfront – like Dylan Maltz – were able to have a personal exchange with the President (he was wearing a trump tie so it was justified). Our time with President Trump was very exciting but brief.”
“Once we were set up outside the front of the White house there was a lot of anticipation while we waited for the President. Just watching him walk out and just interact with everyone only feet away from you and then being able to be in the same picture as him was surreal.”
Garino is excited to start a new life in California and enjoyed reflecting on a Maryland career that saw him emerge as the team’s face-off ace in the title run after spending his entire college career as a reserve to several top faceoff men. “I’m moving to Palo Alto/San Francisco/Bay Area to work for a start-up company, I’m very excited,” he said, “Looking back I’m so thankful for my experience.
“There are certainly some things I wish I did differently early on but I think that’s a part of the process and growing experience as a player/person,” Garino said. “I certainly wouldn’t have thought It would have ended for me the way it did, but I’m grateful I was given the opportunity in that moment and I’m happy our team was able to step up and get it done.
“Being able to see the reaction of the alumni and other people associated with the program made all the sacrifices we made as a team worth it. They really paved the way for us to finally accomplish the ultimate goal.”