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.
For our third installment, we’re taking a look at things through roughly 12 games of play. Our preseason favorites are hanging in there, but they don’t lead this race anymore. Let’s do this thing, starting with our No. 1 voted player, and then proceeding through our top 10 as voters.
You can find past installments of Tewaaraton Watch 2021 to check on how the race has gone here:
Tewaaraton Watch 2021 – Week 9 Update
#1: Jared Bernhardt, Senior, Attackman, Maryland
Stats so far: 8 GP, 33G, 17A
Highest/lowest ranking: 1st/1st
If there’s any reason why Bernhardt wasn’t considered one of the preseason Tewaaraton favorites, well, it’s because we didn’t know he’d be here. Ever since returning to the Maryland program from a stint with Ferris State football, Bernhardt has been on an absolute tear, ripping through the Big Ten seemingly with ease. He’s stronger, faster, and more mobile than dang near any defender in the conference. If there’s anything working against him, it’s the comparative competition of only playing conference games. Bernhardt will need a good postseason performance to lock up the award.
#2: Ryan Tierney, Senior, Attackman, Hofstra
Stats so far: 9 GP, 37G, 15A
Highest/lowest ranking: 2nd/3rd
Remember RGIII winning the Heisman despite playing for a Baylor team that wasn’t in the top 10? That’s basically the case for Tierney here. He’s arguably the most valuable player to his team, with 20 points more than the second place player on Hofstra. Are the Pride going to be good enough to get Tierney considered? That’s the question. At 6-3, they’re still in contention for the postseason, which feels like a prerequisite for the Tewaaraton.
#3: Chris Gray, Senior, Attackman, North Carolina
Stats so far: 10 GP, 35G 25A
Highest/lowest ranking: 3rd/3rd
Chris Gray might be the most talented player on this list if we’re being honest, but UNC has lost its two games since we last checked in on this list. In its first loss to Duke, Gray was held to three points on 18% shooting. In North Carolina’s defeat to Virginia, he again put up three points. The production is still there, but fairly or unfairly, Gray is going to get knocked for this losing streak until UNC rights the ship. That’s just part of the bit when your reputation was built on not losing any games at UNC.
#4: Pat Kavanagh, Sophomore, Attackman, Notre Dame
Stats so far: 7 GP, 12G, 27A
Highest/lowest ranking: 2nd/6th
The Fighting Irish suddenly find themselves the No. 2 ranked team in the nation, and Kavanagh has a good amount to do with that. The sophomore has been one of the best passers in the nation so far this season, racking up assists. Sure, he didn’t do a ton against Duke, but Notre Dame got the win, and that’s what people are going to remember moving forward. Kavanagh will probably need to increase his point production against the ACC to become a Tewaaraton finalist, but if he can, he should at least be at the ceremony.
#5: Brendan Nichtern, Junior, Attackman, Army
Stats so far: 7 GP, 19G, 19A
Highest/lowest ranking: 4th/6th
A one-goal loss to Lehigh isn’t something that should take Army/Nichtern out of the race. The junior is still one of the best attackmen in the country, perfectly balancing his scoring and passing to lead the Black Knights. Army doesn’t have any big time games remaining, unless you count Navy, but it’ll get another shot at making an impact in the postseason. In the meantime, Nichtern can rack up additional stats and wait for his next moment in the spotlight.
#6: Stephen Rehfuss, Graduate Student, Attackman, Syracuse
Stats so far: 8 GP, 20G. 18A
Highest/lowest ranking: 6th/NR
For a guy most people think of as a pass-first player, Rehfuss sure is scoring a lot more these days. He’s second on the Orange in goals now and behind Chase Scanlan by only two. It’s been a wonderful season for Rehfuss, even if it’s been a bit of an underwhelming year for Syracuse overall. Still, with the Orange’s three remaining games being against UNC, UVA, and Notre Dame, Rehfuss can easily get back into the thick of the Tewaaraton race if Syracuse also gets back into the thick of the ACC race.
#7: Jake Carraway, Graduate Student, Attackman, Georgetown
Stats so far: 9 GP, 33G, 12A
Highest/lowest ranking: 8th/10th
Carraway has fallen out of the spotlight recently. That’s about to change, at least potentially. Georgetown hasn’t played any meaningful competition recently, but a rematch against Denver is up next for the Hoyas. He had just two goals against the Pios last time around, which was the beginning of his drop in the rankings. A big game, and a win, against Denver changes his potential here.
#8: Michael Sowers, Graduate Student, Attackman, Duke
Stats so far: 12 GP, 25G, 30A
Highest/lowest ranking: 7th/9th
It’s worth mentioning that we did these Tewaaraton rankings before the results of the Duke-UVA game, in which Sowers had some fantastic highlights and a hat trick. Still, Sowers hasn’t necessarily been playing up to what we expected from him after last season in Princeton. If we’re being totally honest, he’s a finalist. He’s second in the nation in points, Duke is 11-1, and he’s one of the most famous college lacrosse players out there. Still, he’s disappeared in a few close games this season, which is worth remembering.
#9: Logan Wisnauskas, Senior, Attackman, Maryland
Stats so far: 8 GP, 22G, 19A
Highest/lowest ranking: 8th/NR
Bernhardt is the superstar for Maryland, but at some point we need to talk about how damn good Wisnauskas has been in his Maryland career. No way Maryland is getting two Tewaaraton finalists, but I do hope that Wisnauskas gets the recognition he deserves before his Terps career is over.
#10: Jared Conners, Senior, LSM, Virginia
Stats so far: 12 GP, 2G, 4A, 56GB, 16CT
Highest/lowest ranking: 8th/NR
Conners might be the best overall player this year. Offense gets all the attention, but Conners looks like the second coming of Michael Ehrhardt, and he’s going to eventually become a fantastic PLL player and play for the USA and all the rest that comes along with it. If there’s a pole that gets an invite, it should be Conners, although he’s not going to most likely.
Also receiving votes: Mike Robinson (Delaware attackman), Mike Adler (Duke goalie), Ryan Smith (Robert Morris attackman), Connor Shellenberger (Virginia attackman), Cole Kirst (Lehigh attackman).
That’s our Tewaaraton Watch 2021 top 10 through another three weeks of the season! We’ll be back again in three more weeks to check back in on the state of the race. Think we forgot someone? Let us know on Twitter or Instagram.