Who are the favorites for the 2024 Men’s Tewaaraton? While the end of summer is rapidly approaching, it’s never too early to look ahead. 2023 was an epic year for a lot of reasons, and on paper 2024 looks to be even better. Notre Dame returns the bulk of its championship team, while Duke has reloaded on offense. Virginia again looks to be insanely good but isn’t having the same fanfare as years past. What will Syracuse look like with Joey Spallina one year older?
On paper it looks like the ACC will be the top dog when it comes to conferences, but the Big Ten isn’t far behind. Can Michigan continue its ascent? Only time will tell. One thing is for certain, this year has the potential to be the closest year when it comes to naming a Tewaaraton winner. 4 out of 5 finalists from 2023 return, and an influx of talent across Division I will make this one of the most watched seasons in recent memory.
While it is still a year away, its always fun to take a stab at some of the front runners going into Fall Ball. Will this list change come springtime? We will see!
The Tewaaraton Award is an annual award given to the most outstanding lacrosse player in college lacrosse, both on the men’s and women’s side. It is considered the most prestigious individual award in the sport of lacrosse.
Brennan O’Neill, Sr Attack, Duke
The 2023 ACC Offensive Player of the Year and USILA Player of the Year, O’Neill paced the National Runners Up on offense with 55 goals and 42 assists for a career-best 91 points. The odds on favorite to take home the award was one of the most dominant players in 2023. He is just the fifth player in Duke history to record at least 90 points in a season and currently ranks ninth on Duke’s single-season chart.
He is riding a 28-game goal streak going into next season, and has nine hat tricks and 11 games with at least five points this season, including his six-goal and seven-point outing against Michigan in the NCAA quarterfinal.
His detractors brought up his performance on Championship Weekend, but any doubts were pushed aside as he was named the MVP of the World Championships in July. The youngest player on the Worlds best team back for another year? Defensive Coordinators beware.
Pat Kavanagh, Gr Attack, Notre Dame
Pat Kavanagh is the People’s Champion. His toughness was on full display on the game’s biggest stage for the reigning National Champions. Kavanagh has been the preeminent playmaker in the country in 2023. He led the country in assists per game with an average of 3.75. Kavanagh broke his own Notre Dame program records for assists in a season with 51. He also broke the Program Record for points in a season that was previously held by his older brother Matt. Kavanagh also tied his program record for points in a game with 10 against Michigan.
His 25 goals and 51 assists paced the Notre Dame offense. It was his intangibles that made him one of the most dominant players in all of college lacrosse this season.
Essentially playing on one leg, willing his team to victory is something that stands out to fans across all sports. He has gained cult like status throughout the summer. He has been sideline for the PLL and a guest on the Pat McAfee show.
Connor Shellenberger, Redshirt Senior – Attack, Virginia
Shellenberger was slowed by injuries for most of the 2023 season. That didn’t stop him as he had an impressive year pacing the Cavaliers. Throughout the NCAA Tournament He showed that he could be the most dominant offensive player in college lacrosse when healthy. Shellenberger was slowed by injuries during the regular season, but tore it up in the tournament. Against No. 7 seed Georgetown in the quarterfinals,, Shellenberger recorded six goals and four assists in Virginia’s 17-14 victory. His 10 points tied the program record for an NCAA tournament game. In the Semis vs. Notre Dame Shellenberger posted 3 goals and 3 assists to lead UVA. His 22 points led all scorers in Tournament play. For the season he chipped in 30 goals and 54 assists to lead the Cavaliers in points once again.
Shellenberger will probably leave as Virginia’s most decorated attackman and has as good a shot as any to take the Tewaaraton away from Brennan O’Neill.
CJ Kirst, Senior – Attack, Cornell
An absolute stud shooter at the Attack position, Kirst posted one of the greatest seasons in Cornell history. The first Cornellian to be recognized as the nation’s outstanding attackman since Rob Pannell. Kirst became the fifth Big Red to be recognized all-time Which puts him elite company. He led the nation in goals per game with 4.33 and points per game with 5.60 after totaling 65 goals and 84 points across 15 games. In just two seasons, Kirst is six points shy of joining the top-10 in career points at Cornell. Kirst is the reigning Ivy Player of the Year, following his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2022. After not having a 2021 freshman season due to IVY League COVID restrictions, Kirst has clearly put himself among the game’s elite and has shown he has the potential to bring this award home.
If Cornell has a strong season and a deep NCAA tournament run it will be because of him. As we have seen, the post-season can help win the award for a player, and Kirst has the ability to be one of those guys.
Joey Spallina, Sophomore – Attack, Syracuse
The hype is real and deserving. Spallina turned in one of the most prolific freshman seasons by a Syracuse rookie. He led the Orange with 68 points, 36 goals, and 32 points en route to ACC Freshman of the Year honors. Spallina is the real deal and could be the best offensive player in college lacrosse in 2024.
He has been spending the summer in Canada playing Junior A Box for the Orangeville Northmen. Hid skills were on full display for the undefeated Northmen. His game will only grow playing North of the border this summer, and it will surely transition over to the field game this spring. Expect to see an even better Syracuse offense this season, and Spallina will be the big reason for it. Don’t be surprised to see Spallina be the first Syracuse sophomore since Mikey Powell win the Tewaaraton.
Liam Entenmann, Gr – Goalie, Notre Dame
There’s a first time for everything, and if a defensive player wins the Tewaaraton in 2024 it could be Liam Entenmann. The nations best goalie returns for another year backstopping the Irish. A three time All-American and All World goalie. Entenmann paces the Notre Dame defense and was a huge reason the Irish were able to break through and win their first National Championship. The reigning ACC and NCAA Goalie of the Year has game stealing abilities. His save in the waning minutes of the NCAA Semi’s against Virginia could go down as the greatest save in Notre Dame history.