Kylie Ohlmiller should have been devastated. Yet all she could do was smile.
Less than 24 hours after tearing the ACL in her left knee in the waning minutes of the World Lacrosse Women’s Championship semifinals at Towson, Ohlmiller’s U.S. teammates presented her with a black leatherbound scrapbook filled with pictures, notes and drawings — a keepsake she might not have today if it were not for the injury.
Ohlmiller was on the sidelines when the U.S. defeated Canada to become the first host country to claim the gold medal, but she felt pride in their shared achievement.
“For five years, we worked hard to support each other through tough times and to chase that common goal, knowing that people in the stands had never seen a world championship before and never had a team win on home soil,” Ohlmiller said. “I was disappointed to be on crutches, but I was surrounded by a team that decorated my crutches for me. I saw a deeper level of appreciation from my teammates because of it.”
Ohlmiller, who underwent knee surgery in July, will add to the scrapbook this weekend when the U.S. team reunites at the USA Lacrosse Convention in Baltimore. She’s teaming up with Charlotte North to put on a superstar shooting demo from two of the most entertaining players ever to wield a stick.
“I pretty much plan to let Charlotte shoot and wow the crowd,” Ohlmiller said.
“She jokes,” North replied, “but I would just prefer to watch her do her thing.”
Ohlmiller and North met over Zoom last week to finalize the plan for their live field presentation (“Stickwork and Shooting,” Saturday 2 p.m. EST), during which they will demonstrate stickwork drills and hone in on the mechanics of inside, mid-range and power shooting. This session is for coaches attending the full convention, but North will also appear in a pair of sessions for FanFest attendees. U.S. teammates Meg Douty, Ally Mastroianni and Caylee Waters also are part of the LaxCon speaker lineup.
Most of the U.S. team will be on hand to interact with fans during the Gold Medal Celebration, part of Saturday’s FanFest beginning at 4 p.m., after which there will be a private ceremony where players and coaches will receive their commemorative world championship rings.
“The group chat has been buzzing about the Dialed Inn,” said Ohlmiller, referring to a tradition that started in a dorm suite during the team’s time at Towson.
North, one of the younger players on the team, said the ceremony would also present an opportunity to honor Taylor Cummings, Liz Hogan, Alice Mercer, Emily Parros and Kayla Treanor — all of whom announced their retirement in the weeks after the world championship.
“They deserve to go out in style,” North said. “We’re celebrating them as well.”
A two-time Tewaaraton Award winner and the top goal scorer for the U.S. in the world championship, North is eager to thank the veteran players — even those who did not make the final cut — who made her feel welcome as a late addition to the player pool following her breakout 2021 season at Boston College.
“That’s the beauty of the U.S. system and what we hope to inspire,” Ohlmiller said. “Understanding that Charlotte’s superpower is different than mine, which is different from Taylor’s. When you put it all together, no matter what the lineup is, it’s going to be something special and powerful.”
And all that star power is coming to the Baltimore Convention Center this weekend. See you at LaxCon.