Welcome to Tewaaraton Watch 2021! The idea here is simple: our “esteemed” panel of LAS contributors will submit their own ballots every few weeks of the season. From there, I’ll tally up the results, then give you a breakdown of which guys our staff thinks have the best shot to take home the trophy this season.
The five finalists will be announced in a week’s time, so this is our final update before then. The race has changed since we first started tracking it now 12 weeks ago, and it will soon all come to a head. Let’s do this thing, starting with our No. 1 voted player, and then proceeding through our top 10.
You can find past installments of Tewaaraton Watch 2021 to check out how the race has gone here:
Tewaaraton Watch 2021 – Week 12 Update
#1: Jared Bernhardt, Senior, Attackman, Maryland
Stats so far: 11 GP, 51G, 21A
Unless Maryland flames out of the tournament early, Jared Bernhardt will win the Tewaaraton. The fifth-year senior has been nothing short of incredible this season, averaging 6.5 points-per-game while leading the nation in goals (second in total points). Maryland is undefeated and looking at a top-two seed if it beats Hopkins in the Big Ten Tournament title game. Not sure what else you can ask from Bernhardt.
#2: Chris Gray, Senior, Attackman, North Carolina
Stats so far: 13 GP, 42G, 35A
Chris Gray leads the nation in total points. He’s fourth nationally in goals and sixth nationally in assists. UNC has lost just twice by a combined three goals. Gray has been outstanding for the Tar Heels, putting up an extremely well-balanced season and helping lead UNC to a top-five seed. Whether he can catch Bernhardt likely comes down to tournament performance and which team makes it furthest.
#3: Pat Kavanagh, Sophomore, Attackman, Notre Dame
Stats so far: 10 GP, 23G, 36A
What Kavanagh just finished doing to Syracuse can’t be overlooked. He tied the Notre Dame program record for points in a game at 10 with a perfectly-balanced five goals and five assists. He scores big-time goals. He scores highlight reel goals. He’s one of the best passers in the nation already and sits comfortably at the top of the assists-per-game list. A strong tournament run from the Irish, and Kavanagh is very much in the conversation.
#4: Michael Sowers, Senior, Attackman, Duke
Stats so far: 14 GP, 30G, 37A
Sowers isn’t on the same world-shattering pace he was on in 2020, but that’s mostly due to Duke’s offensive system. Sowers has still been great. He’s fourth nationally in points, leading a top-three team in points by a wide margin, and he’s come up big in a few of Duke’s recent games. He still feels like an invitee rather than a contender this year, but he also has the best chance of his career to make MDW, so I don’t think he’s complaining much about his personal numbers dipping slightly.
#5: Ryan Tierney, Senior, Attackman, Hofstra
Stats so far: 12 GP, 41G, 20A
Tierney has gone a little cold by his standards the last few games, but Hofstra is still in the mix for a tournament bid, and Tierney making noise in the postseason could be enough. He’s been individually brilliant, but team success is a big factor in the Tewaaraton race. Hofstra’s win over Delaware is huge for the team and Tierney’s chances to keep trying to claw his way into the race.
#6: Mike Sisselberger, Junior, Face-Off Specialist, Lehigh
Stats so far: 10 GP, 80% faceoff win, 4G, 135 GB
Sisselberger represents so much of what has made Lehigh great this year. He’s a scrappy, under-the-radar guy who brings a lunch pail to every game and puts in the work. He’s been crazy dominant at the faceoff X this year, and he’s arguably the most important player to his team, in terms of the dropoff between him and the next guy at his position.
#7: Jake Carraway, Senior, Attackman, Georgetown
Stats so far: 13 GP, 45G, 15A
Carraway could stand to pass a little bit more, and Georgetown doesn’t have the strongest resume in the world, but he’s still second in the nation in goals, and that’s worth plenty. The senior could really use a big game against Denver in the Hoyas’ regular-season finale to make sure he’s still in the race next week. The Pios blanked him in round one. A big showing in round two gets him back into the conversation.
#8: Jared Conners, Senior, Long-Stick Midfielder, Virginia
Stats so far: 14 GP, 2G, 5A, 70GB, 19 CT
The first-round PLL pick has been arguably the best pole in the country this year. Conners is a fantastic defender, a legitimate transition weapon, and a ground ball vacuum. Comparisons to reigning Worlds MVP Michael Ehrhardt aren’t too far-fetched. The problem here is expecting the committee to be all that jazzed about anybody who isn’t an attackman this season, given the depth at that position. Just like the Heisman is typically a QB award, so too is the Tewaaraton usually just given to the best offensive player.
#9: Jack Kielty, Senior, Defense, Notre Dame
Stats so far: 10 GP, 15 GB
Notre Dame once again has a top-tier defense and once again has the sort of shutdown defensemen that make other teams jealous and go become legit pros. This year, it’s Kielty leading that charge. He’s been nothing short of excellent, taking on the likes of Chris Gray and Michael Sowers and getting the job done more often than not. Like Conners above, it feels unlikely to get a defensive nominee this year, but if we do, Kielty might be it.
#10: Ryan Smith, Senior, Attackman, Robert Morris
Stats so far: 12 GP, 41G, 23A
Shoutout to the mid-majors. Bobby Mo didn’t pull off the big upset this year, but it fought with a lot of great teams. Smith, a top NLL prospect, is sixth nationally in points and in goals. He’s been the obvious go-to guy on an offense loaded with veterans and gotten it done in damn near every game. He almost certainly won’t get an invite, but he deserves the shout here as our final guy.
Also receiving votes: Mike Robinson (Delaware attackman), Mike Adler (Duke goalie), Connor Shellenberger (Virginia attackman), Cole Kirst (Lehigh attackman), Brennan O’Neill (Duke attackman), Logan Wisnauskas (Maryland attackman), JT Giles-Harris (Duke defenseman), Connor Kirst (Rutgers midfielder).
That’s our Tewaaraton Watch 2021 top 10 through another three weeks of the season! Check back next week for our breakdown of the five finalists.