This Saturday evening, nine lacrosse greats will be formally inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame as members of the Class of 2019. It’s the highest honor that the sport can bestow on those who have contributed to its rich history, and the annual induction ceremony serves as a unique celebration of the game and all that it represents.

“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is the most prestigious acknowledgement that I’ve ever received,” said Sarah Forbes, one of seven individuals being inducted this year as truly great players. “I’m so proud to become part of this esteemed group.”

The other inductees joining Forbes as truly great players include Ryan Boyle, Charlie Coker, Kara Ariza Cooke, Rachael Becker DeCecco, Paul Schimoler, and Matt Striebel. As collegians, they combined for 22 All-America recognitions and 11 national championships. 

“Getting into the Hall of Fame has allowed me to reflect back on all the people that have impacted my career,” said DeCecco, a two-time NCAA champion as a player at Princeton. “To be able to represent my family, and Princeton, and the U.S. team is an incredible honor.”

Five of this year’s inductees have ties to the U.S. national teams, while Forbes, a native Australian, played on four World Cup teams for her country.

DeCecco played on the 2005 U.S. World Cup team, and Schimoler and Cooke both played on two U.S. squads. Meanwhile, Boyle and Striebel, who were teammates at Princeton and again as professionals in Major League Lacrosse, played together on three U.S. teams. 

“When you play against Canada in the gold medal game, that game is unlike any other game you’ll ever play,” said Striebel, who helped Team USA capture world championships in 2002 and 2010.

In addition to the player inductees, the Class of 2019 also includes two coaches, the University of Maryland’s Cathy Reese and Nassau (N.Y.) Community College’s Richard Speckmann, who have led their teams to 25 national championships and have aggregately recorded almost 800 wins.

“I feel blessed that I was able to do what I really wanted to do,” said Speckmann, who retired in 2010 after 40 seasons on the sidelines. “I truly enjoyed it. It wasn’t like going to work.”

Still active and going strong, Reese led the Terps to their fifth NCAA women’s title under her watch last season. As defending national champion, her Maryland squad is one of the participants in this weekend’s Team USA Fall Classic, hosted by US Lacrosse, and will play games against both Team Canada and the U.S. national team. 

“I love the athletes that I have a chance to work with,” said Reese, the winningest coach in Maryland history. “Yes, lacrosse is great, but the people… are awesome.”

Initiated in 1957, the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, a program of US Lacrosse, has 442 members. Saturday’s induction ceremony, sponsored by RPS Bollinger and the Markel Insurance Company, takes place at The Grand Lodge in Hunt Valley, Maryland, beginning at 6 p.m. The event is sold out. 
 

Meet the Class of 2019

Read more about the accomplishments of the newest inductees to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

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