Courtesy of Alyssa Dack and Landy Elliott from office of Federal Relations at Duke University
DURHAM, N.C.—The Duke University Men’s Lacrosse team traveled to Washington, DC on Monday to attend a ceremony at the White House honoring the 2012-2013 NCAA champions in multiple sports. The Blue Devils earned the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse title with a 16-10 victory over Syracuse in May.
President Barack Obama greeted the team on the South Lawn of the White House.
“A [national] title means not just performing your best when the spotlight’s on and the game is underway, but also pushing yourself even harder when nobody’s watching,” President Obama said. “That’s the championship spirit we’re celebrating today. Not just the trophies in the display case back home, but the drive and toughness and teamwork that put them there.”
This was the second time in four years that members of the men’s lacrosse program were guests of President Obama. The 2010 Men’s Lacrosse championship team also traveled to the White House for a similar ceremony celebrating their accomplishments.
Coach John Danowski, in his eighth year as head coach, said that, for him, the experience was surreal.
“To be in the presence of the President of the United States is a once-in-a-lifetime, and in this case, a twice-in-a-lifetime experience for our guys,” Danowski said. “To be there with other teams who have had similar success is a great opportunity.”
Josh Offit, a member of the 2010 championship team and captain of the 2013 team, said he was more observant this time around. “The first time, you’re wide-eyed and just think ‘wow, the White House,” he said. “This time, I just took it all in and had fun being with the guys.”
Before attending the White House ceremony, current and recently-graduated players from the 2013 reunited for a private lunch downtown. There, recent graduates addressed the group providing updates on jobs, offering advice and reconnecting with former team members.
“Any time you can come back and be with the team, and relive what we had last year – the success and chemistry – it means everything,” said Offit, who currently lives in New York City. “When you graduate and you’re away from the team, you miss it every day.”