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Ricky Miezan portrait

Ricky Miezan on Lacrosse: 'It's My Foundation'

March 17, 2023
Patrick Stevens
Virginia Athletics

Lacrosse was always there for Ricky Miezan — even while he was away from it the last four springs.

The one-time star at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, was a coveted lacrosse player before he chose to pursue football at Stanford. But he always kept his high school lacrosse stick in the trunk of his car, occasionally shooting and throwing a ball around with members of the Cardinal women’s team.

“That’s the sport that built me into the athlete I am today,” Miezan said. “It’s kind of my foundation. When I got my fifth year and really thought about what I wanted to do, I really missed the sport. I had a lot of fun playing it. One of the biggest things was coming home and being around my parents and having them be able to come to every game.”

When Miezan entered the transfer portal for lacrosse, he indicated he did not wish to be contacted. It was, he acknowledged, something of a Virginia-or-bust move.

Yet there was probably a little more than geography playing to the Cavaliers’ favor. Miezan yearned for the free nature and fluidity of lacrosse, a distinct difference from the do-your-assignment regimentation of football.

Few programs embrace the flair of the game like Virginia. But there’s also a football mentality the 6-foot-2, 235-pound Miezan has brought that’s enriched the Cavaliers.

“When he first arrived here, I asked him, ‘Have you thought about your objectives?’” Tiffany said. “And his first objective was this team throwing helmets on Memorial Day Monday. It would have been easy for him to say, ‘Improve my skills and get some playing time.’ But that first answer was about the team.”

Tiffany said Miezan, who was the top-rated lacrosse recruit in the class of 2018, had less rust than he anticipated. There also isn’t a speed-of-the-college-game adjustment required for a player who spent the last five falls playing Pac-12 football.

Miezan is hopeful he can obtain an NCAA waiver to play two seasons for Virginia. (The NCAA’s bonus year of COVID eligibility technically applies only to a sport someone was participating in when the pandemic struck.) Just navigating his first season in Charlottesville will be an experiment.

“But that’s kind of the exciting part of it,” Miezan said. “As the season goes on, I’ll have a chance to really grow and really find the old parts of me that I had when I was a senior in high school. Expectation-wise, I knew going into it was going to be a big challenge. Obviously, I’m not the same player I was five years ago. Some parts of that are good and some parts I may be missing right now.”

One thing he, Xavier Arline and Dante Trader Jr. — two other footballers back on the lacrosse field — aren’t missing any more: A game they grew up loving to play.