(Photo: ncaa.com | Greg Flume)
Yesterday was of course a glorious day for Duke Lacrosse, as they seal the deal on yet another NCAA Men's DI Lacrosse National Title. That's 3 championships in the past 5 years! But what was more special about yesterday, was that it was Memorial Day, and one of Duke's starting d-poles is former Army Ranger, Casey Carroll. Yeah, that's right, Army Ranger.
Carroll's last season at Duke was as an undergrad was 2007; when he started all 20 games, was a USILA first team All-America choice, ranked second on the team with 68 ground balls, and even netted a goal in an 11-9 win over No. 9 Johns Hopkins! ( Source) Stud... right?! If you think he sounds like a defensive hero now, just wait.
Carroll then makes the ultimate selfless move, and badass must I add, to become an Army Ranger. Not an easy task. Now we're talking a true defensive hero! Definitely brings a new meaning to All American. Carroll spent from 2007 to 2012 with the Rangers. During his time in the Army, Carroll saw four deployments, and thankfully came out without a single scratch.
(Photos: Courtesy of Dukes Sports Information)
Concluding his time dedicated to fighting for our Nation's freedom, Carroll sought out to pursue a Master's degree... and where else than at Duke's Fuqua School of Business. For Carroll, it has been just about 2,500 days since he last played competitive lacrosse. Does that deter a former All American athlete, and All American HERO? F*** no! Carroll not only makes the squad, but started 16 of 17 games for the Blue Devils in 2014. He lead all close defensemen with 21 caused turnovers and 44 ground balls, picked up a season-high five ground balls three times, registered a career-best five caused turnovers in win over Stony Brook, and was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Week in his first game back at Duke. ( Source ) Boom. Talk about a BAMF!
"Casey would tell you that he's no more special than anyone, but when he talks, everyone listens," Duke senior Christian Walsh said earlier this week. "We hold him in a different light for what he has done for his country. On the field, he's been awesome, with all that's going on in his life. The rest of us complain about having to write papers for class, and here's a guy balancing school, marriage, two kids and lacrosse." ( Source)
"He's extremely unique," Danowski said. "He wants to be the same kid who left here in 2007, and it has been a joy to have him out there. The kids love him. They respect him so much for what he has done in his personal and professional life -- as a soldier, a student, a dad and a husband." ( Source )
The most heart-warming part of this story, is Carroll's humility. "It's hard to deny that this is a pretty incredible one for sure," said Carroll, a 29-year-old from Baldwin, New York. "I'm so grateful for the men and women who've made the ultimate sacrifice, to my family who have supported me in this crazy adventure. For my coaches and teammates, I was just riding their coat tails all season." ( Source )
Congrats to Duke Lacrosse on back to back championships... time to add more jewelry to those fingers. And more importantly, hats off to Casey Carroll. Thank you for your sacrifices to this country and the inspiration you bring to the sport of lacrosse. God Bless.
(Photo: Rocky Mount Telegram | Gerry Broome)