At this time next season, the senior attackman could easily hold that honor for his college team, too.
Fleming will head to the College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y., to be a part of the school’s inaugural men’s lacrosse team. He’ll be joined by Patriot teammate Trey Jackson and Walter Johnson’s Alex Schiponi on Coach Liam Gleason’s squad, which will begin playing a full NCAA Division II slate next season.
“It’s really cool to be the first ones playing there,” Jackson, a defenseman, said. “It’s up to us to start the tradition.”
Gleason, a former Siena assistant, sold the trio on the chance to play right away and help grow the program from scratch at the approximately 5,000-student college in New York’s capitol city.
Next season’s team will include 25 recruited freshman, five transfers and several walk-ons. The Golden Knights will compete as an independent in 2012 before joining the Northeast-10 Conference in their second season.
“By our senior year, we’ll hopefully have a pretty cohesive team,” said Fleming, who has 42 goals in 11 games this season for the Patriots. “By then, we’d like to be competing for a national championship.”
Establishing recruiting ties in this area — in addition to those in traditional New York strongholds — has been a major part of Gleason’s plan to build the program since being named coach 13 months ago. He became interested in Fleming and Jackson after coaching them at the Top 205 camp in College Park last June and saw Schiponi, a face-off specialist, at a club tournament in New Jersey later in the summer.
College of Saint Rose almost landed a third Patriot with Gleason making a strong push for Justin Wood before the defenseman signed with Division I Mount St. Mary’s.
Last week, Gleason flew to the area to check in on his recruits. The coach caught Walter Johnson’s loss to Sherwood on Thursday before heading to Southern Maryland on Friday to see Northern score a Senior Night win against Great Mills.
That his future coach would make the 380-mile journey from Albany to Owings — even after the players had already committed — just reinforced Jackson’s enthusiasm for his college choice.
“It’s quite a trip,” Jackson said. “It makes you know that he really likes you and really wants you if he comes all the way down to us from up there.”