Charlie Horning paved the way for the Georgetown Prep Little Hoyas boys' lacrosse team's success during a standout senior campaign in 2014.
An attacker, Horning powered the Hoyas to a 19-1 record and an Interstate Athletic Conference championship game victory, amassing a team-high 82 points, 44 goals and 38 assists. For his efforts, Horning was named The Washington Post's boys' lacrosse Player of the Year.
Horning, who will continue his lacrosse career at Villanova University, capped his high school career by chipping in a goal during the Little Hoyas' 10-7 victory against Landon during the IAC title game in North Bethesda May 17.
A native of Laytonsville, Horning spoke with PressBoxDC.com about his father's impact on his decision to pursue lacrosse, his teammates' role during his banner senior season, his plans to double major at Villanova and his reaction to being mentioned in a May 1 Deadspin article.
PressBox: How would you sum up your success during your senior season at Georgetown Prep?
Charlie Horning: Personally, the thing that set apart this past season for me at (Georgetown) Prep was the offseason. I had a back injury that had been nagging me since the season before, and I had to skip soccer season to recover and get stronger. Then, when I was fully recovered, I was very active throughout the rest of the fall and winter, because we held team workouts every afternoon. I paired that with lots of shooting practice with a friend of mine and (private) coach Scott Pugh, who really helped develop my outside shot. Through these two things, I got much stronger, and I set myself up for a successful season.
Ultimately, I think all my success came from my teammates. We were a very talked about class at Prep for a long time, and through our three or four years of varsity together, we really created great chemistry. All of us banded together in our final season to set each other up for success.
I would have never imagined that I would have had this type of success, both as a team and individually. I always wanted to be a team that went down in school history as the very best, and I always hoped to play well enough to receive some accolades. But I never could have imagined getting all the ones that I did.
PB: After losing to Landon on your birthday April 17, 2012, what did it mean to avenge that loss two years later on your 19th birthday and record a hat trick to help the Little Hoyas defeat Landon, 9-7, during the 2014 Interstate Athletic Conference opener?
CH: The first time I had ever played Landon on varsity was that first game, and a few games before that, I had just gotten the chance to start as a sophomore. I was so nervous the first time I played that game, so it was really fulfilling to get a second chance in the exact same scenario two years later. It was great to be a big part of why we won. It was definitely a lot better to go celebrate my birthday the second time.
PB: Of all your lacrosse accomplishments, what are you most proud of?
CH: Of all my lacrosse accomplishments, the one I am most proud of is being named [The Washington Post] All-Met Player of the Year. It's the award that means the most to me, because over the years, I have noticed a pattern that the Player of the Year is almost always on the best team in the area. I know that a huge part of my success came from my teammates having success this year and helping me have success, so to me, earning this awesome accolade represents the 2014 Georgetown Prep lacrosse team and not just one individual.
PB: With your father, Charles, having played four years at Mount St. Mary's and serving as assistant coach at Georgetown Prep, how was he able to help you develop into the player you are now?
CH: I could give you a million stories about how my dad has had an incredible impact on my lacrosse career, but I'll keep it short. When I was little, I remember watching my dad play in his club games, and he was always one of the better players. But I didn't show too much interest in lacrosse, so I didn't really want to play like him until 2004.
In May, he was inducted into Mount St. Mary's Hall of Fame, and I thought it was so cool. That event made me want to go there, be like him and be a hall of famer also. He is the reason I wanted to play college lacrosse.
In addition, my dad has coached me every year I have played lacrosse my entire life, but one year, which is when I was on junior varsity at Prep. He taught me everything I know about lacrosse, especially since he was played attack, too, in college. He was never easy on me as a coach, and he always criticized me harder than anyone on the team. He never cut me any slack, even if I was his son.
It was always hard to hear his advice after games when I played bad, but as I've gotten older and he was still my coach, that feedback is what helped me always stay on top of my game. He is the reason I am the player I am today.
On a funnier note, a lot of my dad's buddies say I play exactly like he used to, and my dad strings all of my sticks, because I can't string sticks.
PB: How do you think your success at Georgetown and in the IAC will translate to the collegiate level at Villanova?
CH: Georgetown Prep and coach (Kevin) Giblin are very well known for preparing players for the college level by teaching players mental toughness, and the right way to do the simple aspects of lacrosse. And to pair that, the IAC is a very competitive league with a lot of talent in Landon, St. Stephen's & St. Agnes, Bullis, St. Albans and Episcopal. Playing these strong in-conference games, along with a competitive out-of-conference schedule, shows you how competitive college is going to be, especially since the best kids on each of the teams may be your teammates or opposition.
PB: What do you plan to study?
CH: I am enrolled in the Villanova School of Business, and I hope to be able to co-major in real estate and management. It's just an idea, but I think that would be really cool to do at Villanova. I would have a good shot of ending up back in Washington, D.C. I think the connections at Villanova, along with these co-majors, will set me up for a successful career back near home after lacrosse is over, either in college or if I'm lucky to play Major League Lacrosse.
PB: What was your reaction when you found out you were mentioned in the May 1 Deadspin article, "Why Rich Lacrosse Parents Are Making Their Kids Repeat A Grade?"
CH: I was not aware that my name had been published until one of my friends told me about the article. When I first read it, I felt like I had been attacked. After re-reading it, I realized that I don't care what people on an Internet site think about me. If they have a problem with me and want to use my name, they can give me a call and tell me first. And secondly, they only used me as an example. Since I had just been in The Washington Post after my birthday, it was perfect for readers to relate to, so I understand why I was used.
The few things I have to say about the article in its entirety is that repeating (a grade) is a common occurrence all over the country today. If not before high school or in high school, then kids do a post-graduate year before college. I'm not saying it's OK, but when you get into college in any sport, kids are going to be older than you. Also, some of the generalizations made about Mater Dei (school) were definitely not correct, along with some of the information that was provided about individuals.