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First Year, First Line: Teddy Malone, Male Rookie of the Year

By Courtesy of Dylan Goodman/Harvard Athletics
By Katharine Forst, Crimson Staff Writer

Showing grit and determination throughout a highly-anticipated season, first-year attackman Teddy Malone made an instant impact on the Harvard men’s lacrosse team.

Appearing in all twelve games and starting in ten, Malone finished the year tied for the second-most points on the team, finishing with 18 goals and six assists. Working his way into the first-line attacking unit made up of sophomore Sam King and senior Hayden Cheek, Malone was so key in the team’s successes that he was twice named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week.

The first-year star grew up in Philadelphia, Penn. and graduated from Haverford. He started playing lacrosse in the second grade after watching his older brother TJ — a fifth-year senior and standout attacker at Penn State — who inspired him to pursue the sport as well.

Malone ultimately played for Mesa, a club team run out of his high school, where he continued throughout the entirety of his recruiting process. In deciding where he would ultimately take his talents, Malone considered Harvard, other Ivy League schools, as well as Penn State. However, when the coaching staff for the Crimson reached out to him, it made the decision to play for Harvard incredibly easy.

“Hailing from Philly powerhouse The Haverford School, Teddy brings a ferocity mixed with joy to every practice, lift, and drill and that mixture bodes well for what I see as an All-Ivy and All-American caliber career as we aim for an Ivy League and National Championship,” head coach Gerry Byrne noted.

Lacrosse is not a family tradition for Malone beyond him and his brother. His mother ran track at Richmond and his father did not compete in a sport collegiately, although he was a competitive soccer player. Despite this, Malone’s love for the sport runs deep.

“I play lacrosse because it can be such a creative sport,” Malone reflected. “Having your own stick that you can customize makes it so that there are endless things you can do. I’m always learning something new, there are so many ways to get better and it’s just so much fun to play”

It is this joy that drives him to excel both in the classroom and on the field. Balancing a rigorous schedule of Harvard classes, lacrosse lifts, meetings, and practices, Malone has adjusted well to the fast-paced environment in Cambridge. However, even with his instant impacts, he recognizes the stresses of being at such a lauded institution.

Malone remarked that attending Harvard, he realized just how talented everyone is. Everyone was the best at their niche, whether that be art, sports, or music, and so trying to perform well amongst his peers has been a challenge due to the competitive nature of his class.

“I think that makes it extremely competitive. In the classroom you're surrounded by people that seem way smarter than you — and same thing on the lacrosse field,” he said. “Every single person that is recruited to go to Harvard for lacrosse is the best person on their high school team, the best player in the area.”

“I think just going from this side of the river, in the Yard, from classes, being surrounded by super smart, talented individuals, and then going to lacrosse also surrounded by super smart, talented individuals, they just push you,” he continued. “It can be really challenging if you fall behind, and it's easy to get down on yourself, but I think ultimately makes everyone a better person, a better student, a better athlete”

At a school noted primarily as being the best academic institution in the nation, there can be situations in which student-athletes feel pressure from professors as a result of their having to juggle both pursuits in the classroom as well as on the field. However, Malone has not only not felt this, but he has been supported by his faculty.

“All my teachers have been super interesting — they're super curious about lacrosse,” Malone said. “I know some of my professors have even come out to the games. From my experience, the heart, my Harvard professors have been super supportive, and just super interested in my own life, which is really nice to see”

Building confidence has been a hallmark of Malone’s rookie season. Rebounding from an injury in the fall, Malone was forced to sit out fall ball, which meant that he entered this year without much game experience. Slotting into the starting attacking unit and working with a slew of underclassmen, Malone noted that he thinks there is room for the team to grow and outperform this past performance.

“You see all the sophomores contributing, and even a lot of freshmen contributing this year. As a freshman class, we've all discussed with ourselves how we have such a bad taste of losing at the end of the season,” the first-year noted. “We don't want that to happen again.”

“I know a lot of us took the blame for that,” he continued. “A lot of us will be working over the summer to have that not happen again. I think we have a lot of room to grow, but I think we are completely able to do so.”

This blame stems from a lack of experience in some big moments on all ends of the field. However, making those mistakes as a rookie rather than as an older player shows that despite this naivete, the team boasts potential and talent in its younger classes, so these players will be able to gain experience and learn from those difficult situations on the field.

Malone is one of those talents. In the first game of the year against No. 1 Virgina, Malone scored two goals and tallied an assist. Against Dartmouth, he scored the first four goals of the game and also notched an additional four in the win against Brown.

He is far from a silent impact on the field — his successes had an immediate effect on the outcome of each game, and his lacrosse IQ continued to develop over the course of the season as he played more collegiate games.

With his season ending before his brother’s —who is still in contention for an NCAA title with Penn State — Malone did not allow defeat to stymy his appreciation for the sport and for his teammates.

Coach Byrne is unique in that he delegates responsibilities to the upperclassmen to foster a cohesive bond within the units. Malone emphasized this tightness within the team and how it is an integral aspect in the team’s successes.

Looking onto the next three seasons, Malone has his goals set high.

“Win a National Championship and win an Ivy League championship,” Malone said. “And I think just have a great time playing lacrosse together — just really enjoying the sport together, and making it fun — I think that's how it should be played.”

— Staff writer Katharine Forst can be reached at katharine.forst@thecrimson.com.

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