- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Nathan Blondino is the epitome of production.
He scored 15 goals as a freshman on the St. Mary’s Ryken Knights boys lacrosse team.
He scored 38 goals his sophomore year.
As a junior, he again upped his production, to 55 goals.
Going into this year, who knows what is in store for one of the Ryken team captains in terms of goal scoring.
But that production is set to multiply when he starts producing off the field and in a much different manner: for his country.
The senior lacrosse standout will attend the United States Military Academy at West Point and continue producing on the field and in life.
“I’ve always wanted to join the military and serve my country,” Blondino said. “School and academic-wise, it is one of the top schools in the country. The class sizes are small, and as far as the lacrosse side, the team is really close. Out of all of the schools I have been to, they were a family there. I really like that atmosphere and want to be a part of a family.
“Ever since I was a kid, I have dreamed about playing [Division] I lacrosse, or just college lacrosse in general. Knowing I can be up at that level is pretty exciting.”
Although he does not come from a military family, living near a naval base with friends who often had parents from the Navy peaked Blondino’s attention.
“My family hasn’t been [in the military],” Blondino said, “so I kind of switched it up on them a little. My parents have become used to it. ... They have backed me up the whole way, and they wanted me to do what was best for me. They knew I would be successful wherever I went.”
Blondino had narrowed his choice of schools down to four: Army, Delaware, Georgetown and Princeton. It was not simply just the four immediate years on Blondino’s mind; it was the future, post-school and post-lacrosse.
“Graduating from West Point will get you most of the jobs you’ll [apply to] coming out,” Blondino said. “They also help you with where you are living, transportation and things like that. I’ve just decided to be a part of that.”
But his near future includes going through his final Washington Catholic Athletic Conference season with Ryken, and as far as that production, he looks to continue his string of increased productivity.
“Just a lot of practice,” Blondino said of what it takes. “I think it has more to do with my teammates getting me the ball a lot. It’s not just me dodging, it’s midfielders or other attacks dodging and bringing it down or on fast breaks, I’ll get wide open and I bury them.”
Increased production through his three years does not fall simply in the goals-scored category, Blondino tallied 18 assists in year one, 29 in year two and 39 last year.
“He is a true leader,” Ryken head coach John Sothoron said. “He is an outstanding captain. He comes to practice, since he was a freshman, and does not goof off for one second. He is all work and all business, and he sets a good example for the kids. He is thrilled about going to Army.”
The Knights get right into conference action with a season-opening home contest at 6 p.m. Saturday against Good Counsel.
Blondino will join ex-Ryken lacrosse player Connor Cook, currently a freshman at Army who is now playing with Ryken graduate, senior Patrick Brennan.