By Max Goodwin
Tim Reidy has seen Rockhurst lacrosse develop from the ground up. He was the first All-American in the city his senior year in 2002. Now as coach at Rockhurst High School, Reidy has led the Hawklets to three straight LAKC (Lacrosse Association of Kansas City) championships. Rockhurst is the first school to achieve that.
After Rockhurst defeated Blue Valley Southwest, 14-10, in the championship game at Rockhurst High School Stadium, Reidy reflected on those early years of the school’s lacrosse program.
“We weren’t even allowed to play in this stadium. My first few years, we practiced at Sunnyside Park,” Reidy said. “Through the support of the school, my athletic director Mike Dirks, and our parents, look how far this program has come.”
The two young men standing next to Reidy were walking representations of that. And as their coach reflected on those early years, the newcomers waited, a bit impatiently for their own time to speak.
“Coach, come on, we’ve got to get home, I need to go to bed.” McNamara joked as Reidy finished summarizing how much the night meant.
Luke McNamara and Colin Komenda are both in the Class of ‘24. They have both played varsity lacrosse for three years, and they’ve won a city championship every year. They have lost only 5 games during that span and after returning most of the team from last season, the Hawklets went undefeated this season, 18-0.
Komenda won MVP of the LAKC championship, scoring five goals, and playing with an intensity that demonstrated just how important these championships are to the program and the players.
“I remember these games when I was five, six years old,” Komenda said. “Running up there and giving players high fives and thinking it was the coolest thing in the world. So it’s kind of great to be in that position where I’m kind of that guy they look up to now.”
One of Komenda’s goals came after a behind-the- back assist from McNamara, who is being called the best lacrosse player ever to come through Kansas City. He will enter his senior season holding school records for goals in a career and a season. He scored 102 goals this season. He’s already committed to play lacrosse at the University of Utah.
There have now been 21 Rockhurst players to repeat his accomplishment since USA Lacrosse selected Reidy as an All-American. Luke McNamara was recognized as an All-American this year as just a junior, making him the 22nd player in Rockhurst lacrosse history to earn the honor.
Even a stranger to lacrosse can see the special talent he has. He can score in a multitude of ways. But the most striking is when he runs at the defense juking from side to side before faking a shot, only to take it back and fling the ball over his back shoulder.
Asked if McNamara pulled that move off twice in the semi-final game against Pembroke Hill for a goal, Reidy corrected the reporter: he scored three of his six goals in that game with a behind-the-back shot. McNamara pulled the move off again in the first half of the championship game against Blue Valley Southwest.
Reidy turned to the sideline and asked if anybody knew what that move was called. “A behind-the-back-namara,” he told them.
“I mean, he’s single handedly one of the best players in the country,” Reidy said after the Pembroke game when asked to put McNamara’s game into perspective. “He’s the best player that’s ever played in Kansas City. And he’s only a junior.”
McNamara has developed into a leader this year, but if he’s created one problem for Reidy, it’s that the coach now has to constantly tell the rest of the team they can’t take those same shots McNamara takes. He inspires them to though.
The team came into this season with fewer seniors than in past years, and McNamara saw a role for himself as a leader.
“Being on the varsity since freshman year, I knew that I had to step up and be a leader and push the guys around me in practice, and we did a very good job with that this year. Just keeping everyone motivated,” McNamara said.
Rokhurst loses a few seniors this year, but most of this championship team returns next season for a chance to make the streak four consecutive LAKC championships.