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Schweizer family sticks to lacrosse tradition at St. Mark's

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WILMINGTON — When it comes to the Schweizer family, there are two constants: St. Mark’s High School and lacrosse.

Rhett, the fifth of six Schweizer siblings and one of two boys, is a junior at the school and a mainstay on the lacrosse team, following in the footsteps of sisters Courtney, Taryn and Haley, and ahead of younger sister Kendra, an eighth-grader at Wilmington Christian School who will be a Spartan next fall.

The Schweizers had a player on the girls’ team every year from 2006 until last year, when Haley graduated. Rhett’s presence ensures that the family will be represented at least this year and next, while Kendra could extend that a few more years.

Rhett, a midfielder, said the family’s relationship with lacrosse began approximately 10 years ago when his mother, Lori, was searching for a spring sport for her children to play.

“When she saw how fast it was and how fast-paced everything was, she realized how much we enjoyed it. We all loved it,” he said recently at St. Mark’s.

He and his three older sisters began playing around the same time. There were a lot of practices to arrange rides to and from, along with piles of lacrosse-related laundry at their Newark home.

“It was hectic,” he said.

Haley recalled that they started when her older sisters decided to turn their primary attention to a sport other than track.

“We all started getting involved a little bit. We really bonded over it as a family.

It just really became like a really big family thing,” she said last week from Baltimore, where she now plays for Johns Hopkins University.

The older Schweizer girls played together much of their lives and made their mark on Delaware scholastic lacrosse. Courtney (Class of 2009) was a four-time first-team all-state selection and twice made the U.S. Lacrosse All-American first team. Her Spartans team reached the state final when she was a freshman. She was a U.S. Lacrosse scholar-athlete as a senior. She continued her career at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, playing four seasons for the Blue Jays.

Taryn graduated from St. Mark’s in 2012. As a Spartan, she was a two-time first-team all-state selection and also reached a state final. A defender, she played five games as a freshman at High Point University before transferring to Monmouth University. She played in eight of the Hawks’ first nine games, starting four.

Haley was a year behind Taryn at St. Mark’s. She was a three-time first-team all-state selection and was the Delaware player of the year as a senior. U.S. Lacrosse named her a two-time first-team All-American. During her high school career, she scored 341 goals, breaking a state record – held by her sister Courtney.

Haley continued the Schweizer legacy at Hopkins, and like Courtney, wears No. 21 for the Blue Jays. Taryn wore 21 for High Point but now sports No. 24 at Monmouth. As a freshman, Haley has started all 11 of Hopkins’ games, 10 of which were wins. The Blue Jays are ranked ninth in the country.

“It’s been crazy,” Haley said of her first collegiate season. “It’s something I never thought would exactly happen. The first couple weeks were nerve-wracking.”

Rhett Schweizer said his sisters deserve the success they’ve had. “I know how much they work for it. They just seemed so determined. They’d always talk about playing sports in college. Seeing them actually achieving, I’m very happy for them because everything’s paying off for them.”

Rhett, who also plays football at St. Mark’s, will continue his lacrosse career at the University of Delaware. He was a third-team all-state selection last year and wants to do at least one team better this season. His main goal, however, is team success.

“I want us to get to the state finals this year,” he said. “That’s something we’ve never experienced. Our coach and whole team believe we can make it to the finals.”

Last season, the Spartans reached the state semifinal round before losing to eventual champion Salesianum School.

With her older siblings having so much success, it was a no-brainer that Kendra, the youngest, would gravitate toward lacrosse.

“Right now, she’s liking basketball a lot. My mom always wanted to give her other sports to play. But with her, just seeing all of us play, she just sort of picked it up. She always looked up to all the girls, and she was used to working with them and practicing, so I guess she just fell into it,” Rhett said.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Kendra is talented at more than one sport. All the Schweizers played multiple sports at St. Mark’s. All three older sisters played field hockey, with Haley earning first-team all-state honors last year. Courtney and Haley were on the basketball team. Courtney was all-state in cross country, and she and Taryn ran indoor track. Their father, Paul, played football for the University of Delaware, so the genes obviously are there.

But lacrosse is the mainstay. Rhett said someone who walks into their Newark garage would see “probably 50 lacrosse sticks, a pile of basketballs, a bunch of footballs. Mostly lacrosse.”

He and his sisters like to hang out in the summer and throw a ball around.

“In the summers, whenever they come back, we always go down to the beach or to a park and just catch and shoot. It’s pretty fun,” he said.

The family connection to St. Mark’s has extended past playing. Lori is the junior varsity coach and a varsity assistant for the Spartans. This season, Courtney joins her on the sidelines as an assistant coach. Paul works with the program in strength and conditioning, Haley said.

“We all know that we were so blessed to have opportunities to go to the same school, to play lacrosse,” she said.

Rhett said he likes the sense of community at the St. Mark’s. He remembers as a youngster watching Spartans football games with his family and sensing the school spirit.

“All the fans and the students were always so proud of where they came from. We just wanted to be a part of that,” he said.

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