With seven other highly talented siblings – five of whom helped their high school lacrosse teams to state championships and six who earned All-American status in college – Baltimore native Shack Stanwick's athletic path was more or less predetermined.
Still, Stanwick credits “mostly hard work” for making him one of the top-rated lacrosse prospects in the class of 2014. Powerhouse programs from Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland eyed Stanwick, who committed to Johns Hopkins.
And he still has a year left to dominate the prep lacrosse scene.
Stanwick was the Boys’ Latin School’s leading scorer as a junior with 36 goals and 51 assists. He helped the Lakers to a 19-1 record and the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) championship final against Loyola Blakefield and earned Baltimore Sun first-team all-metro honors.
But before Stanwick enters his senior year, he gets the spotlight of USA TODAY High School Sports’ Ultimate Athlete profile series.
For the next eight months, we’re spotlighting individuals deemed Ultimate Athlete-worthy as part of an ongoing, interactive discussion about what sport supersedes the rest. Check in each week for athlete profiles, smack talk, training videos and more, culminating with the crowning of the Ultimate Athlete.
Catching up with Stanwick, he shares what continues to draw him to the game.
Growing up with several siblings who excelled in lacrosse, did you ever think about playing a different sport?
Stanwick:Since all of my siblings played lacrosse, it never crossed my mind to play anything else. That was just what I was going to do, and it’s what I loved.
How has your interest in the game shifted over the years?
Stanwick: What drew me as a kid was that it was something all of my siblings were doing. Over time, I grew to love the game, and the relationships that come with it are a huge bonus. You get to escape from reality for a good hour or two and focus on something you love.
How much of your talent do you credit to genetics versus developed through hard work?
Stanwick: I’d like to say I was born with some of it, but so much practicing, throwing around and playing wall ball is what gets you better. I do think most of it has come from practice. It’s time consuming, and my summer revolves around it. I have no regrets about it.
What’s the skill essential to excelling in the game?
Stanwick: I don’t think being big, fast and strong is as important as it would be in a game like football. In lacrosse you don’t have to be that gifted athletically. You can be very coordinated and be just as good as someone who is big, fast and strong.
As a freshman and sophomore, Inside Lacrosse ranked you as the No. 1 recruit in the country. How did you use that hype to your advantage?
Stanwick: I tried to stay away from the hype and pressure that comes with it. At the same time, I worked harder than the year before, so I could keep getting better.
Why might lacrosse supersede other sports as being toughest on the mind and body?
Stanwick: Lacrosse training is a lot more intense. It’s such a skill game. There’s so much involved with footwork and hand-eye coordination. That’s what’s so cool about it.