Athlete Worth Watching: Patrick Sweeney
Nov 17, 2018 12:00AM
● By Brian Saucedo
By Caley Breese
For Patrick Sweeney, all it took was watching one Washington Capitals game with his father for him to fall in love with hockey. Since then, the dedication and sacrifices he’s made have earned him a spot on one of the state’s top Tier I hockey teams, Team Maryland.
Sweeney, a 17-year-old senior from Odenton, started playing both ice hockey and lacrosse when he was in third grade. He’s had a strong commitment to his athletics over the past nine years, playing on several different club teams.
His lacrosse accomplishments are impressive. In middle school, Sweeney, a goalie, competed on the Rockfish Lacrosse Club team, and played for the select API Diamondbacks club lacrosse team during the summers between eighth, ninth, and tenth grade. Sweeney was also the starting varsity goalie for Arundel as a freshman and sophomore. He was Honorable Mention All-County both years.
However, after his sophomore season, he made the difficult decision to stop playing and focus on ice hockey.
“It was very tough,” Sweeney says without hesitation. “It took a lot of thinking. During my sophomore year, hockey tryouts and the lacrosse season conflicted, so I couldn’t attend two out of three of the [Washington] Little Capitals tryouts because of lacrosse practice and games. I only made one, so I ended up getting cut. So earlier this hockey season, it hit me that maybe I should stop playing lacrosse to try and pursue hockey because I didn’t want to get cut from Team Maryland.”
The time and energy he spent trying out for Team Maryland certainly paid off.
“I was tired of getting hit with a lacrosse ball,” he admits with a laugh. “Once I started playing hockey a lot more, I just started to like it better. It’s also easier for me to practice [on my own] because if I want to practice lacrosse, I have to get someone to shoot on me and that’s hard to do. I have a hockey net at my house that I shoot on a lot. I just kept shooting on that and fell in love with it.”
Sweeney has put considerable focus and attention into ice hockey and his forward position. In addition to being a captain for Arundel’s varsity team, he played for the Metro Maple Leafs in Piney Orchard (2014–2016), Howard Huskies (2016–2017), and captained the Tier II club hockey team Tri-City Eagles, based in Laurel (2017–2018). He began practicing in August with Rockville-based Team Maryland.
“He was a forward when he came to Arundel, but I asked him to play defense because of our need [for defensive players],” Arundel Varsity Ice Hockey Head Coach Rom Mascetti says. “He accepted the role with fervor to be the best defenseman not only on the team, but in the league. His work ethic has been an inspiration for the team to work harder to improve their skill level. I couldn’t be prouder of Patrick and how he has built himself into one of the best players on the team.”
Sweeney’s hard work is apparent in his schoolwork and extracurricular activities. He has been a member of the National Honor Society since his junior year, is an honor roll student, and has taken several advanced placement classes, including physics and statistics. He carries a weighted 4.25 grade point average. Additionally, Sweeney is on the Athletic Leadership Council, an organization at Arundel where the school’s top athletes—selected by coaches and the athletic director—participate in community volunteer activities.
“Patrick is a very determined individual; he’s almost hyper-focused on his goals,” Sweeney’s mother, Jennifer, says. “His father and I couldn’t be prouder of the dedication he has. Not many student-athletes have that type of dedication.”
After he graduates high school, Sweeney plans to take a gap year and play ice hockey in the junior league to prepare for college. Because the college recruiting process for ice hockey does not usually take place through high school or club teams, this league allows players to be scouted and recruited by college coaches. Sweeney is interested in playing at the Division III level, and hopes to pursue a major in engineering.
“While Patrick was a leader on the ice from his skill set, he assisted the team with his many other qualities,” Tri-City Eagles U16 AA Head Coach Nat Rojas says. “This is what truly makes Patrick an ‘athlete worth watching’ as he continues to achieve his goals.”