“Off the field, he’s the nicest kid you’ll ever meet,” freshman lacrosse midfielder Greg Browne said of his teammate Marty Heyn. “He’s also a huge clown and is always joking around.”
Though Heyn is a loveable goofball in person, make no mistake–he’s all business on the field. In his illustrious three-year career as a Spartan, Heyn has crafted an impressive resume, including selections as an All-American, First Team All-SSC, and the Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
A primary reason for all of those accolades is his innate ability to shut down opposing offenses. To put it in a relevant analogy, he draws comparisons to Darrelle Revis, the New England Patriots’ staunch cornerback, a player often called upon to negate the other team’s most formidable offensive force.
“He is a huge presence on the field and also an amazing on-ball defenseman who can lock down the opposing team’s best attackman,” said sophomore attacker Conor Whipple, his All-American teammate.
Before he received any of that glory, though, he was just a kid from Gaithersburg, Maryland, who (much like the aforementioned Revis) had ambitions of becoming a football star. However, a variety of circumstances, including lack of height to play his intended position, prevented him from attaining that goal.
Fortunately, another option was available: lacrosse. Noting its similarities to football, his mother signed him up for lacrosse when he was in the seventh grade and he hasn’t stopped since.
According to Heyn, the switch to lacrosse wasn’t the smoothest transition. “I’m going to be honest, when I first started playing I hated it,” he said.
“It’s not one of those sports you can just pick up. I wanted to quit, but my mom urged me to keep playing. I guess it worked out pretty well.”
These days, Heyn considers lacrosse his passion. His work ethic has earned him unanimous respect among his teammates and coaches, and he lives and breathes the game daily.
Unsurprisingly, his favorite aspect is just being in the presence of his teammates, whom he considers to be his second family.
The SSC-based Spartans seldom travel outside Florida, but Heyn always relishes the times when they finally do. For him, travelling always produces an abundance of stories–stories in which the end result is always impossible to forecast.
He recalled one road trip in which the team travelled to Colorado and the entire team fell ill with some kind of bug.
“You really get a lot of quality time on road trips. When we went to Colorado my freshman year, the entire team got a stomach flu and it was actually terrible. But it was also so memorable that I’ll remember it for the rest of my life,” Heyn said.
Things have vastly changed since that chaotic road trip back in 2012. After the departure of several key senior players in 2014, Heyn was tasked to lead a young defense comprised of mostly freshmen, sophomores, and transfers this year.
“I try to just communicate and set an example for the younger guys. They’re doing a really great job this year, they picked it up really fast. My role is to be a facilitator,” Heyn said.
His teammate Browne emphasized the value of Heyn’s presence on the field.
“He’s our most experienced defender and usually covers their best attacker. His physical style of play gets everyone fired up. I’m not sure where we’d be without him–he’s a major part of our defense,” Browne said.
This season, Heyn will be depended on to keep the ship buoyant as the Spartans eye a run at the National Championship. On the pitch, Heyn injects a spirit of tenacity and resilience into the young squad, and off it, his cool, confident mindset reminds everyone to stay relaxed and upbeat. When asked about the devastating Feb. 14 loss to rival Limestone, for example, Heyn had this to say:
“It’s National Championship or bust. We have some work to do after last week, but I’m really confident in our team and our players. Right now in February, we’re just trying to be the best we can be today. I’m confident that we can get back to and even surpass where we were last year,” he said.
As Heyn mentioned, the team is working hard to carve their identity and prepare themselves for another run at the championship, and given that only three games have transpired, the Spartans have quite a bit of time to do so. One thing is for sure, though: they’ll need Marty Heyn every step of the way.
Griffin Guinta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.