Height 6′ 2″ (188 cm)
Weight 180 lbs.
College: Salisbury University
Kyle Hartzell has come onto the professional lacrosse scene with a vengeance. He plays with a relentless ability to cover his opposition all over the field and has even contributed to the offensive output of the teams that he has been on. Not a rare feat, but a feat that not many defensemen have been able to produce to an equal level. The Team USA Training Camp roster isn’t something that many people did not believe was in his future.
But lets rewind a few years ago …..
An attackman in Baltimore Area Private School scene, usually comes with some following. The MIAA has produced some of the greatest attackman in the history of our game. His high school days were on the campus of Archbishop Curley High School. Not an unknown name, but not one that sits as high as some of its competitors in the MIAA. The “B” Conference, in which Curley plays, rarely produces household names to which companies beg for their endorsement and colleges are asking them to verbal years before they become seniors in high school.
Believe it or now, Kyle Hartzell was an attackman for the Friars and played under the tutelage of a couple of UMBC Retrievers. They instilled to him the knowledge that they could, but the teams were the most productive in the schools history, so he went relatively unnoticed in the recruiting circuit. His next stop would come at Essex Community College, a destination that made way for some of the games greats.
Walking onto campus, the team transformed Hartzell into a defenseman. His work ethic and determination would prove to be what separated him from the rest. His teams won the JUCO National Championship. Winning that title certainly gives you notice on the radar of some formidable universities. Where could he go, with two years left of eligibility, and make a name for himself? The answer would be found on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Kyle Hartzell walked onto the team and immediately made his presence felt. During those days at Salisbury, losing a game a year was status quo. The Sea Gulls dismantled teams at a historic pace. I was on the coaching staff at Stevenson University and little was spoken about Hartzell’s ability because the other two defensemen and long pole were the name amongst names in Division III Lacrosse.
What the three close defensemen did the years Hartzell was on the roster was impressive. As soon as the ball touched the offensive box, they would double team you until you turned the ball over or even worse. It was relentless, it was tiring, but most importantly it was fun to watch. Even as a coach on a rival team, I was impressed and often watched just how efficiently they took possession of the ball and ran transition before the other team could even substitute their offensive players onto the field. This led to notoriety, but not necessarily recognition on Hartzell’s part.
After graduating from Salisbury with some more jewelry to don, an opportunity arose that Hartzell would take full advantage of. His work ethic was something of almost fabled legend. He worked out extensively, continued to hone his skills, and made the most of the opportunities that were ahead of him.
I remember a classmate of his told me that it is amazing what you can do with time and the work ethic that he has to want to get better. He said that he couldn’t even recognize him from his days in high school because he worked on his physical form so much. His classmate ended it by saying “I wish I had the time to work out and work on my body, but there is no way I would be able to produce like Kyle has.”
Now fast forward to where we stand today with Kyle Hartzell. If you follow his twitter handle (@khartzell81), you know that working out is almost religious to him. He works out with the familiar names of lacrosse like Rabil, Reynolds, etc. at the Jay Dyer Factory. I call it factory because if you see what these men do for a workout and the transformation that happens, it’s a factory.
Hartzell calmly plays whoever his coach assigns him. Calmly might be the wrong word choice, but as you see him play you will understand my word selection more. He rarely finds himself out of position, yet is all over the field harassing his opposition. After a save, the goalie has his first option of hitting Hartzell streaking up field. His motor rarely gets time to rest as he uses his athletic ability to the best of its ability.
Given the youth movement of the Team USA Training Camp Squad, it looks as though the coaching staff made a conscious choice to give the next crop of hopefuls their time in the sun. With Hartzell, you get a name that has been increasingly more important in lacrosse circles over the years. It feels like him is just hitting his stride, but he has been around awhile and is still getting better. Not only does he play for the Machine of the MLL, but he also plays for the Philadelphia Wings in the NLL. He won a title with Paul Rabil in Washington and has since returned east to play close to home.
Looking at the depth chart, its hard to keep a player like Kyle Hartzell off the short list to make the National Team. His ability to be a factor in each game he plays has been on display each time he steps on the field. He brings a veteran presence to the team that is loaded with just-out-of-college players. Kyle Hartzell shows to his team and to others that with hard work and dedication, one can achieve what they want in the world. Best of luck to you, Kyle.