Only four years after picking up her first lacrosse stick, Severn School’s 15-year-old Tiana Griffin has been named to the U16 USA Lacrosse team. Griffin earned one of the 22 roster spots after a competitive and comprehensive national tryout against 2,000 players for the opportunity to represent the United States in USA Lacrosse’s National Fall Classic, from October 15–17, to be held at USA Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, Maryland. Griffin and her team will face off against Canada and other international teams.
It’s hard to imagine Maryland without lacrosse. Schools like University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins, Salisbury and Loyola, as well as many others, are perennial nationally ranked Division I and III lacrosse programs. But growing up in Prince George’s County, Griffin said the attention on lacrosse is nothing like it is in other parts of the state.
“I really never heard much about lacrosse,” said Griffin, who was playing field hockey in a Davidsonville recreational league after moving to Anne Arundel County. Ironically, it was through field hockey that Griffin was introduced to lacrosse.
“My team was playing St. Mary’s and I received my first-ever yellow card,” said Griffin of the official’s warning. “A lacrosse coach approached me and suggested I try lacrosse. And that’s how it started!”
After just two years of recreational lacrosse, Griffin made the move to Integrity Lacrosse in eighth grade, and that is where her skill level massively increased.
“In a way, I surprised myself,” Griffin said, “but I put in a lot of extra time on my fitness and conditioning, and my speed and agility.”
Peck Burmeister, head coach of Griffin’s current club team, M&D 2024 Red, first noticed her at a tournament. “I quickly noticed her style of play and felt like she was a player to watch. That same scenario occurred on several other occasions,” Burmeister said, “and I felt like she was probably one of the better players in our area and would be an asset to any team.”
Griffin made the switch to M&D earlier this year.
“As her club coach, my job is to facilitate her growth by promoting an environment where she can learn the game in a broader depth and understanding,” Burmeister added, “as well as allow her to utilize her strengths to build confidence and succeed.”
Griffin is also thriving on the Severn lacrosse team.
“Since the moment I first met Tiana on the lacrosse field, I could tell that she was a grinder. To me, the term grinder means a student-athlete who is willing to put in the work when no one is watching, and I truly admire her work ethic,” said Kathy Rudkin, Severn School lacrosse coach. “She is a leader through the way in which she gives 100 percent effort and I’m excited about her bright future in this sport.”
According to NCAA rules, college coaches are not allowed to contact Griffin until she is a high school junior, which will be next September, but she’s already thinking about a college playing career and beyond. The aspiring attorney said she’s interested in the United States Naval Academy, Johns Hopkins, Princeton or possibly another Ivy League school, all of which have powerhouse lacrosse programs.
As for the upcoming tournament, Griffin said she’s most excited about “running out of the tunnel, wearing the red, white and blue for team USA with my teammates who have the same skills and same dreams. I cannot wait!”
Though Griffin is ecstatic to wear the USA jersey, she hopes it’s not the last one she will earn.
“Lacrosse isn’t an Olympic sport … yet,” Griffin said. “But when it is, I want to be wearing the USA uniform. Playing for the United States in the Olympics is my ultimate goal.”