The finalist for the Tewaaraton Award were announced on Wednesday night. All five players that were selected as finalist will be at the award ceremony on May 30th in Philadelphia, PA.
This year’s finalist are Loyola senior attackman Pat Spencer, Penn State junior attackman Grant Ament, Yale junior faceoff man TD Ierlan, Princeton junior attackman Michael Sowers, and Maryland junior attackman Jared Bernhardt.
All five players that made the list as finalist this year are fantastic players and certainly fun to watch. They each make big impacts for their teams on a regular basis and have contributed to their teams success in some way, shape, or form this season.
While all five guys are certainly great players, there is one player that many feel was left off this list and should have been named a finalist without a doubt. That player is Boston U. sophomore attackman Chris Gray who has been one of the most electric players in the country this year, as well as last year.
Post-season success has been used as a marker for the Tewaaraton finalist list and the winner in the past. Some prime examples include last year’s winner Ben Reeves who led Yale to the national championship, the 2017 winner Matt Rambo who did the same for Maryland, and the 2016 winner Dylan Molloy who led Brown to a semifinal appearance.
Not all the time has post-season success been a marker for the Tewaaraton winner or finalist. In 2012 Colgate attackman Peter Baum won the Tewaaraton award. While Colgate did make it to the NCAA quarterfinals that year they were blown out by Duke
This year there is no question that Pat Spencer is the favorite and will most likely win the award whether Loyola makes the final four or not. But still Chris Gray was snubbed and it’s such a bad decision by the committee that it’s comical.
When you look at the makeup of this year’s finalist Michael Sowers is the only player that will not be playing in the NCAA tournament as Princeton didn’t even make the Ivy League tournament this year. Now Sowers is without a doubt one of the best players in the country, but just the fact that Sowers was named a finalist gives an impression that post-season success wasn’t much of a factor this year.
If you consider that, then Chris Gray should have been named a finalist without a doubt. It’s not even the fact that Sowers made it and Gray didn’t that is angering lacrosse fans everywhere. The most outrageous part of it is that Gray’s stats are much better than multiple finalist this year. Gray leads the country in scoring with 111 points. The next best is Grant Ament with 100 points so far this season.
A player that leads the country in scoring by 11 points was left off the list of the finalist for the most prestigious award in the sport. Let that sink in. Gray is also eighth in the country in goals with 49 and second in assist with 62.
With all of that considered, how do you leave a player of this caliber off of the list but not a player such as Jared Bernhardt, who many would argue isn’t even the biggest threat on his team. Now, do consider that Maryland is much deeper in terms of scoring that Boston U. is, but still how does that happen?
If you are a college lacrosse fan with even a little sense or knowledge of who the best players in the country are, you know for sure that Chris Gray has been a better player this year that Jared Bernhardt. And that’s not taking anything away from Bernhardt as he is a good player, but this season Chris Gray has been a much bigger impact on his team than many other players have been in their entire career.
Chris Gray being left off of the Tewaaraton finalist list this season is an atrocity for the sport of lacrosse. It is truly devastating that a player of his caliber would be left off such a prestigious list.
If you are a member of the #FreeChrisGray camp just hope that Pat Spencer does win the Tewaaraton so it looks like it wasn’t even a race to being with, because it’s really not. Also, let’s hope that Gray proves the committee wrong and comes out even stronger next season as a junior, and goes on a tear. Wouldn’t that be pleasant sight to see.