Coming into the Broad Run boys' lacrosse program as a freshman in 2013-14, Kyle Brickerd had a lot of hype and expectations to fulfill.
Before he even played a minute in high school, Brickerd, an attacker, gave his commitment to the University of Maryland coaching staff, spurning offers from perennial powers Johns Hopkins and Syracuse, among others. The added attention didn't seem to faze the 6-foot-2, 191-pounder, however, as he hit the ground running almost immediately for the Spartans.
Last season, Brickerd earned numerous accolades and honors after leading the Ashburn, Va., school in scoring with 57 goals and 27 assists en route to the team's 11-6 finish. He earned Virginia High School League Group 5A first-team recognition and took part in the Under Armour All-American Game as part of the Washington, D.C., boys' underclass team.
Individual numbers aside, Brickerd wasn't completely satisfied with how Broad Run's season ended after the team lost to Stone Bridge, 12-6, in the Conference 14 boys' lacrosse championship game. In 2016, the reigning conference Offensive Player of the Year is making it his focus to lead Broad Run past the Bulldogs and what he hopes culminates with an appearance in the VHSL 5A lacrosse state championship.
Brickerd, who stars for the Spartans' football team at quarterback during the fall, spoke with PressBox about the improvements he's made this offseason and the hopes for his junior campaign.
PressBox: How did you first get involved playing lacrosse?
Kyle Brickerd: I got into lacrosse when I was going into fourth grade. The reason I did was because my neighbor played it, so I quit soccer. I started to become really good at it, and my club coach started to tell me about playing college lacrosse.
PB: You had a strong season in 2015, scoring 57 goals and tallying 27 assists. What were some of the reasons for your success, and how did everything come together the way it did?
KB: My sophomore season was a big one for me due to my teammates and coaches. I worked a lot in the offseason on my shot and passing. I had good players all around me, which helped me make plays.
PB: As you continue preparing for the upcoming season, what have you been working on?
KB: I've been working on turning the corner and my feeding skills. I hurt my leg during the football season, so that's kind of put my offseason work on hold. But I plan to come back strong this year.
PB: Speaking of the 2016 season, how do you think the team stacks up compared to last season's squad?
KB: This year's team is going to be really dominant. We lost our goalie, but we have another one coming in who is just as good. Also, we have a lot of returning players at each position, which is really positive for us.
PB: You committed to Maryland before you even played a minute of high school lacrosse. What went into your decision to commit that early, and how has that allowed you to just focus on improving as much as you can before you head to College Park, Md.?
KB: I committed early, because it's how the process is now. Kids commit in their freshman year or early their sophomore year. Not having to worry about it is a big relief. I can go to tournaments and focus on getting better instead of having to play to impress coaches.
PB: Last year, you were selected to play in the Under Armour All-American Game as part of the D.C. underclass team. What was it like having the experience of matching up against some of the nation's top high school players, and what did you learn about yourself?
KB: Playing in the Under Armour All-American Game really helped me play faster. It was sort of an eye-opener, because I've never played around so many talented kids. So I had to elevate my game. It was the best tournament I've ever played in.
PB: What's one thing you haven't accomplished at Broad Run that would you would like to before graduating in 2017?
KB: One thing I haven't accomplished is winning a conference championship in lacrosse. We've played Stone Bridge the last two years in the playoffs, and we lost both times. I feel like if we won, it'd be huge for our program and me. After losing two years in a row and finally winning, it would show a lot of improvement for our team.