In the Where Are They Now? sports feature in the April 6 Southern Maryland Extra, Collin Meerholz's high school was misidentified. Meerholz was an All-Met lacrosse midfielder at Northern High School. He graduated in 1998. He also played for the Calvert Lacrosse Club. (Published 4/13/03)
Calvert High School retired Collin Meerholz's No. 19 jersey and wrote his name in the record book next to 81 goals in a season when he graduated from the Prince Frederick school.
An All-Met lacrosse midfielder, Meerholz took his talents to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he earned a spot on the starting midfield as a freshman.
But just a couple of games into the season, he suffered multiple stress fractures in his left shin and was sidelined for the rest of the season. It was a doubly unfortunate break because his team made the 12-team NCAA tournament that season, and Meerholz was unable to participate.
"It really drowned me," he said. "I was really up and playing well and all of a sudden I was down for the rest of the year."
Meerholz allowed the injury to heal on its own rather than have surgery, and after months of rehabilitation was back on the field as a sophomore, with hopes of a breakout season.
In UMBC's second game, Meerholz had a five-goal effort, calling it "a huge breakout game." But he was benched the following week when the team faced North Carolina.
The coach "never really gave me a reason," Meerholz said. "That's what really set me off. I was playing so well. He never really gave me a chance after I put in that effort."
Meerholz started about half of the remaining games and finished with 17 goals, and UMBC finished 15th in the USILA poll, just missing the NCAA tournament.
Meerholz sat out the following season, partly to let the left leg heal, but he occasionally worked out with friends. He also played an intrasquad scrimmage with UMBC's club team one day when it was short on players.
Meerholz transferred to Towson University on a lacrosse scholarship in September 2001 and enjoyed a solid junior season, playing on the first and second midfield lines and scoring 10 goals in his final seven games.
But as the fall 2002 practice approached, Meerholz learned that the NCAA had ruled that his innocent scrimmage with the UMBC club team counted as an entire year of eligibility. As a result, he was not allowed to play for Towson this spring.
Meerholz appealed to the NCAA, first in writing, then through a direct plea by Towson athletic director Wayne Edwards. Meerholz said he hoped the NCAA would suspend him for only one game instead of taking away an entire year of eligibility, but the NCAA denied the appeal.
Meerholz is making the best of the situation by playing lacrosse for Team Toyota of the U.S. Club Lacrosse Association, hoping to get enough notice to be drafted by a Major League Lacrosse team, preferably the Baltimore Bayhawks. He also spends time watching his sister Ashlyn play for Calvert, where she is a budding sophomore standout.
Meerholz plans to graduate this summer with a degree in business management.
"I'm upset, and it's tough to watch [Towson] play," Meerholz said. "but I'm having fun playing with Team Toyota. It's laid back. I just go out there and play and it's a lot of fun."
-- Dave Yanovitz