Athlete Worth Watching: Alex Woodall
Aug 28, 2015 12:06PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds
Alex WoodallSt. Mary’s High School/High Point University // Football, Lacrosse
by Tom Worgo
When it comes to sports, it’s difficult to rattle 2015 St. Mary’s High graduate Alex Woodall.
The 6-foot-1-inch tall, 220-pound Woodall routinely won the physical battles he faced as a football and lacrosse standout in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference. He started at fullback and linebacker on the gridiron and worked as a faceoff specialist and midfielder in lacrosse.
The Annapolis resident also wrestled one season for the Saints in a heavyweight division. But when the subject turns to him playing lacrosse at High Point University in North Carolina this fall and next spring, Woodall admits he will be somewhat uncomfortable. Woodall will attend the school on a lacrosse scholarship for a new program that’s trying to gain a foothold in the sport. “I will be nervous,” Woodall explains. “It’s a lot of pressure.”
Woodall, nicknamed “The Big Cat,” will do his best to live up to lofty reputation he gained in high school. In May, he received lots of media attention after he helped power St. Mary’s to the school’s first lacrosse championships in 19 years.
In fact, St. Mary’s and opposing coaches have called him the best faceoff specialist in the country. Spencer Ford, the general manager of the Annapolis-based professional lacrosse team, the Chesapeake Bayhawks, agrees.
That praise comes after a season in which Woodall won a whopping 72 percent (270 out of 373) of his face-offs playing in what is generally considered to be the best high school league in the country. He earned All-American honors for that outstanding season, being named American Family Insurance All-USA first-team selection.
“That kid dominated,” says Ford, a former Towson High, Towson University, and MLL standout who watched Woodall play several times this past spring. “Never in my life have I seen someone do what he did. There were guys in college back when I was playing in the 1990s that were considered dominant, and even they didn’t win that way.”
High Point head coach Jon Torpey is eager to have Woodall in the lineup in 2015. He loves the way Woodall played against some current college standouts during his high school career.
“I look at what he did against some guys right now that are proven Division I stars,” Torpey says. “He held his own and even dominated some of those guys. Alex is definitely a guy who I think has the potential to be a very good faceoff guy at the next level. I think he has the potential to really dominate.”
Woodall badly wants to play at a level right away in college. So he worked out 90 minutes every day this summer following a High Point workout program to prepare for fall lacrosse practices that start in early September.
“I am definitely working out harder than I ever have before,” says Woodall, who will be joined at High Point by recent St. Mary’s graduate and best friend Tim Troutner, a goalie. “Hopefully, working my but off will pay off and I will be a good player in college.”
The 18-year-old Woodall had a memorable senior year at St. Mary’s. The Baltimore Sun named him its All-Metro Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year. And the four-year starter played his best in the most important games. In the Saints’ 13-8 victory conquest of McDonogh School—then the No. 1 ranked team in Baltimore area—in the MIAA championship game, Woodall won 19 of 25 faceoffs and gobbled up 13 ground balls to be picked as the game’s MVP.
He also won 11 of 18 faceoffs in a 9-5 semifinal victory over St. Paul’s. “Alex has a unique talent and skill set,” St. Mary’s lacrosse offensive coordinator Joe Thompson says. Alex was the strongest kid in the school and also happened to be the quickest.”
Woodall started really focusing on taking faceoffs as a seventh grader playing midget-AA in the Annapolis Youth Lacrosse Association. Many players just don’t do that in middle school.
“When I saw someone else doing it, I was like ‘Coach, I will sacrifice playing midfield to take every faceoff,” he recalled. “From there on, I just took every faceoff on every team I was on. It turned me into the faceoff guy.”
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