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2015 Today’s Top 10: Joe Fletcher

Fletcher was the only college player on the 30-man roster for the 2014 U.S. men’s national lacrosse team, a fitting end to a stellar college career.

For four years, Joe Fletcher played lacrosse for Loyola University-Maryland. The defender, originally from Syracuse, New York, left his hometown to pursue his passion in a state where lacrosse reigns. He didn’t regret the decision – he made three consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament, won a national championship and went on to become the only collegiate player among the final 30 members in contention for the U.S. men’s national lacrosse team in 2014, his senior year.

“It was a great experience,” Fletcher said. “You think college lacrosse is hard and then you start practicing with professionals and everything is faster – the speed of the game, how your opponents think, everything. It was awesome to see firsthand. ”

The seven-month tryout began with 98 players, who were whittled down to a 51-man roster that took the field at an exhibition game in January. Fletcher was still in the running when the roster was later downsized to 30, but he wasn’t one of the 25 players named to the final squad. Each hailed from a professional lacrosse team.

 “My dad always says highs and lows will come but don’t let either of them define you,” Fletcher said. “I am lucky I had the chance to learn from the guys I look up to.”

Fletcher credits his father for his love of the sport. He is also a big reason, Fletcher said, that he excelled as a student, as the father constantly reminded his son to enjoy the college experience and maintain balance among his commitments. Fletcher admits that he may have overextended himself when he first arrived on campus as a freshman. Eventually, though, he listened to his father’s advice and found balance in his sport and schoolwork.

“I had to take all of the things that were important to me and dedicate enough time to each without overdoing it,” Fletcher said. “That was a great learning experience, and by junior year, I was in a groove and had a good handle on things.”

That is not mere lip service. Fletcher graduated with a 3.83 GPA and made use of his accounting degree by landing a job as an associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Baltimore, Maryland. And, though he fell just short of the national team, lacrosse is still part of his life – he plays in a local league on weekends.