Tag Archives: Naval Academy

Lacrosse Mourns “One Of Its Own”: Former Naval Academy Men’s Lacrosse Defenseman And Navy SEAL Brendan Looney (’04) Was Killed In Line Of Duty In Afghanistan On Sept. 21 (Video)


Yesterday was one of the most difficult of Richie Meade’s 17-year tenure as Navy men’s lacrosse coach. For the first time since taking over as head coach in 1995, Meade had to deal with the combat death of a former player.

 

“Brendan Looney was the hardest working member of the team – he had to be to show up his brothers (Steve and Billy),” said classmate Adam Reel, a reserve midfielder that season. “His example of hard work and pushing the team was an instrumental part of the 2004 success.”

It was a long, painful day. The C-5 Galaxy transport plane that was supposed to arrive around 1:30 did not touch down until three hours later. Meade was among an incredible 130 mourners who showed up at Dover to support the Looney family.

Although severely shaken by the news that 2004 graduate Brendan Looney had been killed in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan, Meade did not hesitate to make the two-hour drive to Dover Air Force base to represent the Naval Academy lacrosse community when the former standout defenseman’s remains were brought home.

 

Meade comforted Looney’s parents, Kevin and Maureen. He consoled Looney’s widow, Amy. He commiserated with Looney’s brothers, Steve and Billy, who are also former Navy lacrosse players.

“This has been an extremely tough day for me personally. I have never felt this sad,” Meade said after returning to Annapolis late last night. “This is a real loss in my life because I really, truly cared about Brendan Looney. My father died and that hurt tremendously, but what makes this so hard to handle is that Brendan still had so many great things to do.”

Meade has worked with hundreds of memorable Midshipmen during the more than two decades he has spent as a Navy lacrosse coach. Even among those many top-notch young men, Brendan Looney stood out.

Brendan Looney ('04) Naval Academy Lacrosse

Looney did not play organized lacrosse until he got to the Naval Academy Prep School. The Silver Spring native was a standout football player at DeMatha Catholic and hoped to join his two younger brothers on the lacrosse field as a senior, but could not due to injury.

Initially recruited to Navy as a football player, Looney switched to lacrosse and steadily transformed himself into a valuable player. What Looney lacked in skill, he made up for in toughness. He compensated for minimal lacrosse experience with athleticism and hustle.

Navy enjoyed its greatest season under Meade in 2004, compiling a 15-3 record and reaching the national championship game. Looney wasn’t the star of that team by any means, but he may have been the most respected.

“Brendan was the hardest working member of the team – he had to be to show up his brothers (Steve and Billy),” said classmate Adam Reel, a reserve midfielder that season. “His example of hard work and pushing the team was an instrumental part of the 2004 success.”

Meade took a special liking to Looney because of the sheer will and determination he displayed on the field along with the heart and passion he exuded.

“I cannot overstate the feelings of love and respect that I have toward Brendan Looney,” Meade said. “There are so many little things that made this kid special to me. It was an honor to be part of his life.”

Looney initially got onto the field in the unheralded role of rider – replacing an attackman and furiously chasing the ball to prevent the opponent from clearing. He switched to long stick defensive midfield and was the backup to Thomas “Bucky” Morris in 2004 when Navy made a tremendous postseason run before losing to Syracuse in the Division I final.

“I remember when we played Cornell in the quarterfinals. Brendan got blind-sided around midfield and practically knocked out, but somehow he got up and beat the ball back into the hole,” Meade recalled. “When Brendan came off the field he collapsed because he’d been unable to breathe from the time he got hit.”

Such stories of intensity and effort foretold a career in special warfare. Looney wanted to be a SEAL from the outset, but was initially denied due to color blindness. He was temporarily assigned to assist a SEAL unit and proceeded to out-perform every member of that specially trained, highly skilled maritime force.

“It was like a tryout and Brendan kicked their butts until he was asked to join,” Meade said.

Meade said Looney was nicknamed “the caretaker” because he looked after his five brothers and sisters as well as every single teammate.

“Brendan had no chinks in his armor. As a teammate, as a son, as a brother, he could not have been any better,” Meade said. “What set Brendan apart was that he had a big heart and a great capacity to love. As a coach, you are a teacher. However, there are those rare times when a player teaches you. Brendan was one of those guys.”

It was suggested to Meade that Navy lacrosse should name an award in honor of Looney. It should not honor the best player on the team, but rather someone who displays the selflessness, team spirit and emotional toughness that defined Brendan Looney. Meade understood that was a natural initial reaction, but said he was not inclined to establish such an award.

“I don’t need a name on a trophy to remember that Brendan Looney was a tremendous individual. Our future players will know who Brendan Looney was and what he stood for because I will tell them,” Meade said. “Brendan was everything that I would hope a Naval Academy graduate would be. He certainly was the epitome of what I want a Navy lacrosse player to be.”

For more:  http://www.hometownannapolis.com/news/nas/2010/09/23-73/Sports-Comment-Academy-lacrosse-family-takes-loss-to-heart.html

National Lacrosse Camps: Naval Academy Lacrosse Camp Teaches Top Lacrosse Skills From Leadership To Setting And Defending Picks


 “As coaches, we have a tremendous amount of influence on kids today. And we place a lot of emphasis on leadership. I equate it to D-Day. The success of the operation were the guys on the beach — me standing next to you. They had to overcome all kinds of stuff to get the job done. They did it through leadership and they did it through caring about the guy next to them.”

 “If you watch the college game, there’s a lot of picking going on. Everybody has big strong athletes and they try to get an edge by picking. So we’re going over how to pick and how to defend it.”

“We’re going to talk about team offense,” said Young, former assistant to Bill Tierney at Princeton and now the lacrosse coach at nearby Anne Arundel Community College. “If you watch the college game, there’s a lot of picking going on. Everybody has big strong athletes and they try to get an edge by picking. So we’re going over how to pick and how to defend it.”

“We have kids from Hawaii, Alaska, Tennessee, California. We even had a camper fly in all the way from Australia,” said long-time Andover and North County coach Jon Appelt. “We hope here the kids take back what they learn to those areas that are not traditionally big lacrosse areas and share it with their teammates.”

“How lacrosse is presented to the kids at a young age is going to stay with them for a long time,” said Meade, whose teams have made the NCAA playoffs six of the last seven years, including the classic 2004 national championship game against Syracuse. “As coaches, we have a tremendous amount of influence on kids today. And we place a lot of emphasis on leadership. I equate it to D-Day. The success of the operation were the guys on the beach — me standing next to you. They had to overcome all kinds of stuff to get the job done. They did it through leadership and they did it through caring about the guy next to them.”

For more:  http://www.pressboxonline.com/story.cfm?id=6458

Nevada High School Boys Lacrosse: Green Valley High School Boys Lacrosse (10-4) Is Coached By Lacrosse Legends Tom Mitchell And Karl Rippelmeyer, Both Hall Of Fame Members Of Naval Academy National Championship Teams In 1960’s


Coach Rip (Karl Rippelmeyer) and Coach Mitch (Tom Mitchell) bring hall-of-fame credentials to the Gators.

 

Green Valley High lacrosse coaches Tom Mitchell, left, and Karl Rippelmeyer. Courtesy of JASON BEAN/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Rippelmeyer is in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, and both are in the Naval Academy Athletic Hall of Fame; Mitchell is in the U.S. Lacrosse Greater Los Angeles Chapter Hall of Fame for his work organizing officials in that area.

 

As teammates at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1960, Mitchell, a junior, and Rippelmeyer, a senior, led the Midshipmen to the first of eight consecutive collegiate national championships. Each was an All-American; Rippelmeyer three times and Mitchell twice.

Sports Illustrated chronicled Navy’s upset of Army for the 1960 national championship in a June 13 story that mentioned Mitchell’s and Rippelmeyer’s key roles in the victory.

When Rippelmeyer graduated in 1960, he left with nine varsity letters and the honor of being his class’ top athlete. He served in the Marines until retiring in 1979 as a lieutenant colonel. He earned the Bronze Star with Valor during the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam.

For more: http://www.lvrj.com/sports/green-valley-lacrosse-team-keeps-an-old-school-connection-94231404.html

Date Opponent Result
3/16 at Legacy   L,  16-6
3/23 FAITH LUTHERAN   L,  13-7
4/06 at Centennial   L,  18-5
4/09 HENDERSON II   W, 18-4
4/13 PALO VERDE II   W, 11-3
4/17 at Red Rock   W, 13-6
4/20 at Spring Valley   W, 18-9
4/23 ARBOR VIEW   W, 17-3
4/27 FAITH LUTHERAN II   W, 9-5
4/30 at Bishop Gorman   L,  10-5
5/04 at Henderson II   W, 16-2
5/07 at Palo Verde II   W, 20-6
5/11 RED ROCK   W, 16-3
5/13 SPRING VALLEY   W, 18-5
Coach: Tom Mitchell

College Men’s Lacrosse: Navy Men’s Lacrosse To Host Two Fall 2009 Tournaments


The nationally-ranked Navy men's lacrosse program will play host to a pair of fall ball tournaments on back-to-back weekends in October that will feature the reigning NCAA Men's Lacrosse Champions, the Syracuse Orange, as well as the U.S. Men's Lacrosse National Training Team.

The nationally-ranked Navy men's lacrosse program will play host to a pair of fall ball tournaments on back-to-back weekends in October that will feature the reigning NCAA Men's Lacrosse Champions, the Syracuse Orange, as well as the U.S. Men's Lacrosse National Training Team.

Oct. 10 Navy Tournament Schedule
Game 1 – 12:00 pm

Navy vs. Syracuse               Rip Miller Field
Harvard vs. Hobart              Farragut Field – Turf
Penn State vs. Georgetown       Farragut Field – Grass

Game 2 – 2:30 pm
Navy vs. Penn State             Rip Miller Field
Harvard vs. Syracuse            Farragut Field – Turf
Georgetown vs. Hobart           Farragut Field – Grass

Oct. 18 Navy Tournament Schedule
Game 1 - 10:00 am
Navy vs. Team USA Blue          Rip Miller Field
Maryland vs. Team USA White     Farragut Field - Turf

Game 2 - 12:30 pm
Navy vs. Virginia               Rip Miller Field
Maryland vs. Team USA Blue      Farragut Field - Turf

Game 3 - 3:00 pm
Virginia vs. Team USA White     Rip Miller Field

The Naval Academy will be the host site of a six-team tournament slated for October 10 with three games being played simultaneously at 12:00 pm and again at 2:30 pm. Games will be played at Rip Miller Field, as well as the grass and turf playing surfaces at Farragut Field. Joining Navy in the tournament will be Georgetown, Harvard, Hobart, Penn State and Syracuse.

On tap for the Midshipmen are a pair of teams they don’t see often during the regular season, however, both will provide a challenge and give head coach Richie Meade a first-hand look at how his team has progressed. Navy opens the tournament by playing arguably the most talented team among the field, Syracuse. The Orange staged an amazing comeback in the final four minutes of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship to earn a 10-9 overtime win against Cornell. Syracuse finished the year with a 16-2 record, but returns several of its offensive arsenals this season including attackman Stephen Keogh, Chris Daniello and Cody Jamieson.

In the second game, the Mids will battle Penn State who used to be a regular on Navy’s schedule when the two were part of the ECAC Lacrosse League in the early 2000s. The Nittany Lions are coming off a 9-5 season that saw them win each of their last six games, including overtime victories against St. John’s and Georgetown. Meanwhile, four of Penn State’s five losses were by one goal, including a 9-8 loss to NCAA-bound Massachusetts.

Navy returns its entire starting offensive unit (attack and midfield), including its top five scorers from a team that finished 11-5 last spring and made the program’s sixth-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Among those returning is All-American attackman Tim Paul (Parkton, Md.), who paced Navy with 32 points on 18 goals and 14 assists despite missing two full games and seeing minimal time in three others after suffering an ankle injury. Meanwhile, fellow attackman Brendan Connors (Bellmore, N.Y.) returns for his senior season after emerging as the Mids’ top goal scorer in 2009 with 21, while All-Patriot League midfielder Patrick Moran (Annapolis, Md.) will anchor an experienced midfield. Meade will rely upon sophomore Matt Vernam (Shoreham, N.Y.) to play a leadership role on the defensive end of the field, while long poles Zack Schroeder (Deer Park, N.Y.) and Jaren Woeppel (Camillus, N.Y.) will be stalwarts in helping carry on the storied tradition at the Academy.

The following weekend, October 18, Navy welcomes Maryland, Virginia and the U.S. Men’s Lacrosse National Training Team which will be split into two competitive squads. Navy’s first game will be against one of the U.S. National Training Teams, while it will conclude the day by playing Virginia.

The U.S. Men’s Lacrosse National Training Team is currently comprised of 40 players who will be vying for one of the FIL-mandated 23 roster spots. The weekend of Oct. 18 is the second of three training weekends this fall for the team before it is cut to its mandatory size in preparation for the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship in Manchester, England from July 10-24, 2010. The U.S. Men’s Lacrosse National Training Team will also be taking part in training weekends at the United States Military Academy (Sept. 25-26) and at Stony Brook (Oct. 30-31).

“I’m grateful to my longtime friend Richie Meade for allowing our National Team to come to the Academy for what will be a competitive tournament,” said U.S. Men’s Lacrosse National Team head coach Mike Pressler, who is also the the head coach at Bryant University. “I think it is a tremendous opportunity and a great day of lacrosse for the average lacrosse fan to take in a weekend that features Team USA, Navy, Maryland and Virginia.

“I can’t thank Richie and his staff enough, as well as the Naval Academy, for making their facilities available to us and our training. Additionally, I’m grateful to Dave Cottle of Maryland and Dom Starsia of Virginia for their efforts in helping make this a tremendous event. All three programs are helping their country’s National Team by participating.”

Among the players vying for one of the roster spots is former Navy standout and two-time Ens. C. Markland Kelly Award winner Mickey Jarboe. A product of Calvert Hall High School in Baltimore, Jarboe enjoyed an illustrious career at the Naval Academy that resulted in twice being named an All-American (1999, 2000), while also receiving the highest honor bestowed upon a college goalkeeper. Jarboe, who is Navy’s career saves leader with 701, won the Kelly Award in 1999 and again in 2000 as the nation’s best netminder. He is one of 12 players all-time to win the Kelly Award multiple times over the 61 years it has been handed out and is the last player to win it in back-to-back seasons. Additionally, he is one of seven different Navy players to claim the award and joins Dennis Wedekind (1963, `65) as the lone two-time winners from the Academy.

Having served his country the last nine years as a helicopter pilot based out of San Diego, Jarboe returned to the game of lacrosse in the summer of 2007. Picked up by the now-defunct Los Angeles Riptide, he led the team to a Major League Lacrosse Championship appearance in 2007. A two-time MLL All-Star, Jarboe was named the MLL’s 2008 Warrior Goalkeeper of the Year after pacing the league with just over a 12.00 goals-against average, while leading the Riptide back championship weekend for a second straight year.

“Having the opportunity to compete against Team USA, Syracuse, Virginia and Penn State will be a tremendous experience for our players here at the Naval Academy,” said Meade, who is entering his 16th season as Navy’s head coach. “It will give us ample opportunity to learn what our strengths and weaknesses are as we move forward and grow as a team. I’m really excited about hosting both tournaments and see it as a great challenge for our team and a great opportunity for fans alike to watch some great lacrosse here at the Naval Academy.”

 

As a reminder, only cars with Department of Defense (DoD) stickers are allowed to drive onto the Naval Academy grounds. Fans are encouraged to either park at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium ($5 charge to park) and take the free shuttle service over to the Naval Academy or park outside of the Academy gates and walk onto the grounds. All visitors are required to have a picture I.D. to gain access to the grounds.

http://www.navysports.com/sports/m-lacros/spec-rel/090209aae.html

Men’s Lacrosse Profile: Former Naval Academy Lacrosse Defenseman Eric Kapitulik Has Dedicated His Life To Honoring Fallen Comrades In Helicopter Crash; Founded “The Program” To Provide Leadership Development For Athletic Organizations


erickapituliklacrossenavyKapitulik was a four-year letterman at Navy, playing close defense for three teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. He was named Navy’s Most Outstanding Defenseman and selected to the North-South All-Star team as a senior in 1995.

“In terms of sheer physical and mental toughness, I’d say Eric ranks in the top one percent of players I’ve coached,” Meade said. “Eric is the essence of a leader and it was good for our current players to simply spend time with him and hear what he had to say.”

 

 

 

 

http://www.hometownannapolis.com/cgi-bin/read/2009/02_17-43/NAS

Eric Kapitulik underwent a life-altering experience 10 years ago.
On Dec. 9, 1999, the former Naval Academy lacrosse player was commanding a group of 10 Marines during a training exercise off the coast of Southern California.
Major Kapitulik was the leader of a Force Reconnaissance unit that was involved with special operations in the Middle East. Their area of expertise was boarding vessels for the purpose of conducting search and seizure.

On this day, a routine training mission went awry as the pilot of a helicopter came in too low on the ship being used for practice. Instead of maintaining a 50-foot hover, the helicopter descended too quickly and became entangled in superstructure protruding from the deck of the ship.

In an instant, the chopper plunged into the ocean, striking the hull of the craft on the way down. Kapitulik, who had been knocked unconscious by the impact, awoke approximately 60 feet below the water. Encumbered by a pack filled with seventy pounds of equipment and suffering from a fractured leg, the former Navy defenseman managed to free himself from the sinking wreckage and swim to the surface.

“I was very, very lucky to survive that accident. Sadly, six of my men were not nearly as fortunate,” Kapitulik said.

Since that fateful day, Kapitulik has dedicated his life to honoring those fallen comrades. He established the Force Recon Scholarship Fund to raise money for the families of those seven Marines who died in the training incident. He began competing in extreme sports events such as triathlons and other ultra endurance races.

Kapitulik has completed seven of the infamous Ironman triathlons, finishing 64th out of 2,000 competitors at the United States championships. He completed a grueling crossing of the Kalahari Desert in Africa, which involved biking, running, rock-climbing and kayaking. He got into mountain climbing and has scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount McKinley in Alaska and Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. That leaves four of the world’s major summits to still conquer.

Kapitulik’s efforts have thus far raised nearly $150,000 for the Force Recon Scholarship Fund, which will help send the children of his former soldiers to college. “This has become my life’s mission. It was the best way I could think of to honor those men,” he said.

Kapitulik has since founded a company known as The Program, provides leadership development for athletic organizations. The Navy, Loyola and Harvard lacrosse teams are among many that have gone through his two-day training regimen that involves a combination of motivational speaking and challenge exercises.

“Our basic ethos involves being good teammates, being good team leaders. In order to accomplish that goal, you need to follow the three core principles, which means being physically and mentally tough, not making excuses and working hard,” said Kapitulik, who will serve as guest speaker for the 55th annual Touchdown Club of Annapolis football awards banquet on Thursday.

Kapitulik was a four-year letterman at Navy, playing close defense for three teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. He was named Navy’s Most Outstanding Defenseman and selected to the North-South All-Star team as a senior in 1995.

The Connecticut native served as both an Infantry Officer and Special Operations Officer with the 1st Force Reconnaissance Company and 1st Marine Division. As a Force Reconnaissance Platoon Commander, he led 20 covert operations divisions in special forces-related missions, including long-range reconnaissance patrols, hostage rescue, high altitude jump exercises, ship takeovers, and gas-oil platform takedowns.

Kapitulik left active duty in 2003 after teaching Leadership courses and serving as a Regional Director of Admissions at the Naval Academy. He has found a way to incorporate all that training and experience into a business enterprise through The Program, which has proven to be extremely effective at team building and bonding.

Kapitulik has conducted his “Corporate Boot Camp” for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to the St. Mary’s High lacrosse team. Participants undergo a wide range of activities designed to test physical and mental toughness.

“We put athletes through a definitive test known as Judgment Day, which gives them a chance to commit to the basic ethos and core principles that we espouse,” Kapitulik said. “There is no better way for a coach to evaluate his players than by seeing how they handle adversity in non-sports specific activities.”

Naval Academy men’s lacrosse coach Richie Meade hired Kapitulik to conduct The Program for his team. Meade has nothing but praise for his former player, calling him “as fine a young American as I have ever known.”

“On a military level, Eric’s service was very distinguished. As an officer, he displayed the leadership and courage you would hope to see from a Naval Academy graduate,” Meade said. “That training accident had a profound affect on Eric and he really brought home the principle that the people you lead are more important than yourself. He is very sincere and earnest about taking care of the families of those men who died under his command.”

Meade said Kapitulik’s two-day training regimen pushed the players hard, but said the greatest benefit involved simply being exposed to a distinguished officer and top-notch individual.

 

 

 

 

Lacrosse Video: University Of Virginia Men’s Lacrosse Scrimmages Naval Academy