Dylan Zimmerman knows that the numbers are misleading.
After all, the recent Delone Catholic lacrosse team went just 2-13 in 2021 and Zimmerman racked up just 12 points.
But if you look a little deeper, you see why Zimmerman, a team captain, became a first-team all-county selection, the first such selection in the five-year history of the Squire program.
“I think my game is mostly focused on speed and getting to ground balls and takeaways,” the long-stick midfielder said. “Those are the areas I think I’m really good at.”
Zimmerman led the team and the league with 116 ground balls and 67 takeaways on defense. It’s those numbers that helped lead him to continue his lacrosse career into college, where he will play for Division II Frostburg State University in Maryland.
“Dylan was a four-year starter who was successful in setting various school records as a long-stick mid and defender,” Delone coach Wade Smith said. “His next chapter should prove to be a huge boost for a young Delone Catholic program. He has proven it is possible to be part of a small, fledgling, high school program, and still achieve the opportunity to compete at the college level”
Zimmerman was named second-team all-county in 2019 and was well on his way to playing in college before the COVID shutdown.
He said the lack of exposure due to the shutdown and the small-school nature of the Delone program made it difficult for coaches to find him, but eventually his play with his club team, York TEAM Lacrosse, helped him find his way to the next level.
“There were a few other schools I was looking at, but it was really hard getting exposure to college coaches at such a small school,” Zimmerman said. “But I played club lacrosse and that’s where I got the most exposure. A former teammate of mine, Will Sweeney, who’s actually a year ahead of me, is playing at Hood College, and that’s sort of how colleges first found out about me before I chose Frostburg.”
Zimmerman said that while the record won’t show it, he feels that the Squires achieved most of their team goals in 2021 and that he believes the successful season can help lay the groundwork for future success.
“This year we met a lot of our team goals, which probably comes as a surprise for most people,” he said. “We just wanted to play every game the best we can and win every ground ball to give ourselves more possessions and I think we did a good job of that.
“It’s hard at a small school like we have to get players on the lacrosse team. So we’ve done a lot of recruiting of kids, especially the ones that play football because that’s so much of our school.”
He added that many of the players on the team are just learning the game, so as a co-captain with teammate Sam Meighan, he tried to act as both a player and a coach.
“It’s a little tough because you have to take on the role of a coach and a leader because there are a lot of kids on the team who have never picked up a stick in their life,” Zimmerman said. “Sam and I both did that, and we talked before and after practices about kids who need help and trying to help them improve.”
Zimmerman’s success is something that Smith feels could be a key part in building a lacrosse culture at Delone, and one that could bear fruit long after Zimmerman is gone.
“Delone is a great educational environment which excels in preparing students for collegiate opportunities and boys’ lacrosse is a newer part of campus life and poised to be a very beneficial part of the equation for student athletes working to earn a shot to compete at the next level,” he said.
Clay Sauertieg can be reached at email@example.com