Austin LaBorwit had never played lacrosse competitively until he transferred to Churchill from Bullis during his freshman year of high school.
But in just four years, LaBorwit has quickly developed a niche as one the area's top faceoff specialists. During his second as a varsity starter, the senior has been as good as ever in helping the Bulldogs dominate time of possession, winning 136-of-170 faceoff attempts.
On April 21, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound LaBorwit cemented his place in Churchill lore with one of his finest career performances to date. During a 19-10 victory against rival Wootton, LaBorwit won 19-of-28 faceoff attempts, giving him 478 career draw wins to surpass former teammate Steven Stillwell's previous school record of 459.
More importantly, the victory improved the Bulldogs' record to 10-0 and 5-0 in Montgomery County, as LaBorwit and Co. remain poised on avenging last year's loss in the Maryland Class 4A/3A championship game.
LaBorwit spoke with PressBoxDC.com about his knack for winning faceoffs, his decision to play collegiately at Division III Trinity and his plans for life after lacrosse.
How did you first get involved playing lacrosse, and what is it about the sport that you enjoy the most?
Austin LaBorwit: I started lacrosse my freshman year when I transferred from the Bullis School to Churchill. My friends introduced me to the program at Churchill. I like the guys on the team and enjoy working with the team -- on and off the field. We are all close friends, and it's really fun to have a team with a lot of good chemistry.
As a senior, how have you improved during each of the last four seasons at Churchill?
AL: I started lacrosse freshmen year, so I have improved a lot and found my niche on the team. I was a faceoff specialist my JV season as a freshman, then became second-line faceoff to Steven Stillwell. That motivated me the most, because I knew I had big shoes to fill. I worked hard on faceoffs all year and also grew my game on the defensive side of the field.
During a win against Wootton April 21, you broke Steven Stillwell's career program record for most faceoff wins (459). What was that moment like for you?
AL: When I started my high school career, I did not expect for any of this. Breaking the record was a great feeling of individual accomplishment, but the memories I enjoy most are with my team -- the double overtime wins and rivalry games.
With the team off to a 10-0 start this season, how far do you think it can go?
AL: I think this team has all the components we need to go all the way. I feel strong as a team all around. It's states or bust.
From both an individual and team standpoint, what are some goals you'd like to accomplish before graduating in the spring?
AL: To win the region and win states is our main goal. I want to do the best I can in every game and control the possession for our team to allow our offense to dominate.
Next year, you'll play college lacrosse at Trinity. What went into that decision, and why do you think Trinity will provide you with the best at the next level?
AL: The first factor in my decision was would I want to go to this school without lacrosse? I loved Trinity from my first visit, since the academics suited me well, as well as lacrosse being in the NESCAC conference. The Trinity head coach, Coach Higgins, was very helpful and there for me during the recruiting process, and he is a very good coach with good visions for me and the team. I will be one of three faceoff men on the team next year, and I am very excited for the next level of competition.
How has Churchill prepared you for the academic and athletic rigors of Trinity?
AL: Churchill lacrosse has had very high expectations for me and pushed me since I first started. I had Stillwell's shoes to fill, plus more. Academically, Churchill pushed me to be ready for Trinity, which has a large competitive student body, and with large classes. [Churchill] taught me how important it is to have self-organization and stay on top of your own work at all times.
How do you think Trinity will prepare you for life after lacrosse, and what do you plan to study?
AL: Trinity has a great athletic program that works well with the academic schedule for athletes. They have high expectations and provide a lot of support for the students. They have a great career center and have a strong alumni network, lacrosse alumni as well as all Trinity graduates. As an athlete at Trinity, you work very hard athletically and are still given the same opportunities as regular students, such as studying abroad, which I hope do in my college experience. I'm planning on majoring economics, but I will expand my education at a liberal arts school.