Athlete of the Issue: Taggart Eymer

Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary Manchester United manager, offered his take on what makes teams successful. “Attacking wins you games.  Defense wins you titles.” Taggart Eymer, a starting defender on the Boys’ Varsity Lacrosse team for the past four seasons, understands this sentiment as well as anyone. In this 2017 campaign, Boys’ Varsity Lacrosse has both new blood in three skilled second formers and many familiar faces on what looks to be a talented squad. Coach Bow Low has high expectations and standards for the team. However, they have a tough road ahead of them. The Independent School League is undoubtedly one of if not the, strongest prep school conferences for lacrosse. To be a force in the ISL, a team needs talent and leadership; just one is simply not enough. Taggart Eymer hopes to lead this team to success in his final season as a Zebra.

Taggart began playing lacrosse, as many do, in impromptu backyard games with his older brother. Eymer remembers Kindergarten as when he first picked up a stick and put on pads. He started playing organized lacrosse when he was in first grade. He recalls falling in love with the game and never looking back.

Despite having already played one season of ISL varsity lacrosse as an eighth grader at Thayer Academy before coming Groton, Taggart faced challenges stepping into a starting role as a freshman. As a Third Former, Taggart was forced to “match up with some of the best players not only in the league but the entire country.” Taggart is grateful that sixth formers on the team like James Forse and Austin Stern “embraced [his] presence as a younger former and pushed [him] to become a better player, leader, and teammate.”  These seniors modeled greatness for Taggart and helped shape him as both a player and team leader who is ready to fill the captaincy three years later.

Taggart’s relentless work ethic and commitment to the sport make him a strong leader and role model for his teammates. Anthony Romano ‘21 looks up to Taggart, saying that he “plays whatever position the coach needs him to be in and he is always looking out for his teammates no matter where they are in the field.” New and veteran players alike look to Taggart as a leader both on and off the field.

Following his Fourth Form season, Taggart earned ISL Honorable Mention, just missing out on the incredibly talented All-ISL squad. He slotted in at Close D,  Long Stick Middie, Man-up and even short stick during that season. He proved his toughness, which makes him the rare coach’s favorite that also has the support of the team.

In Taggart’s Fifth Form year, he was able to make the prestigious All-ISL First Team, one of only two players from Groton selected. While it was a disappointing year for the Zebras, most notably a 3-12 shellacking at the hands of St. Mark’s, Taggart continued to show poise as an athlete and as a leader. He used a loss that could have haunted many and turned it into motivation for hard work during the off-season.

Taggart summed it up best himself: “As I look back and see the captains that have come before me and the type of players but more importantly teammates they were, it makes me realize how special the position is. The boys have worked hard to adopt and execute a hardworking, scrappy attitude. We are going to fight for every ground ball and play aggressively for four quarters as a unit. To lead this team with Coach Low, Hefler and Zinck through the ISL season is an honor, and I think I am ready to take us into battle against a very talented field of opponents.”

Next year, Taggart will head to Smithfield, Rhode Island to play Division I Lacrosse at Bryant University. The Bryant men’s lacrosse is among the most competitive programs in the nation, consistently finishing at the top of the Northeast Conference and appearing in the NCAA Tournament in 2013, 2014, and 2015.  Taggart is certainly ready for this next level of play and he looks forward to competing against other top athletes.

Talented, hard-working, and a natural leader, Taggart  has made tremendous contributions to the Boys’ Lacrosse program over the past four seasons. Taggart will be missed after his time on the Circle comes to an end, but we look forward to watching him excel at the next level.