Some say that being a “suitcase” can be a difficult look on an athlete, but for some it is what builds character and helps adapt to new environments. For Riptide rookie, Larson Sundown, moving teams is what helped him stand out and become the skilled player that he is now.
Sundown was selected 36th overall in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft to the Riptide and despite a slower start to his season, this forward has become a key part of the offense.
“When I heard my name called that night I was over the moon,” Sundown said. “I honestly had no expectations for the draft and just wanted to be able to play somewhere. I’m lucky that New York took a chance on me because it’s been a blast so far.”
The Basom, NY native was born with a stick in his hands and started playing when he was just three years old. Playing minor box in Buffalo and then joining the field game at age 13, Sundown knew that this was his passion. Once his teams were able to travel across the border and across the East Coast, Sundown realized that he could take his game to college.
Sundown started his career at Onondaga Community College where he spent two years playing at the JUCO level before making the jump to Division II at Limestone University where he earned a collection of accolades. Despite the awards and recognition, it was a culture shock for Sundown.
“I was blown away with the amount of running and lifting we did at Limestone, and it was a huge jump,” Sundown said. “I thought to myself, man if I knew there would be this much running, I don’t know if I would have played here, but the team made me feel as though I had been here since my freshman year and I’m so grateful for that.”
After shattering scoring records and leading Limestone to a runner-up NCAA Tournament Championship game, Sundown again felt it was time to take his skills to a new school. Spending his senior year at Rochester Institute of Technology, Sundown was an impact player immediately and was able to help lead this squad to an NCAA Division III Championship Title.
When each school year would end, it was back to the box for Sundown, and he chose to take his indoor career to the west coast province of British Columbia. During his junior career Sundown was able to compete with some of the biggest names of the BCJALL: New West, Coquitlam and Victoria.
“Transitioning between teams was tough because it’s always tough playing against your old teammates,” Sundown said. “I feel so blessed with each experience I had because I learned so much about myself as a lacrosse player.”
During his time in the BCJALL Sundown was able to capture a Minto Cup Championship in 2018 with Coquitlam and realized that he could take his game to the professional level. Sundown was considering going back to RIT for his fifth year, but his dream of playing in the NLL was at the forefront.
“The opportunity to play in the NLL is something I’ve dreamed of since I was little,” Sundown said. “I know that I’m a bit of a suitcase, but every team taught me something so special and I felt that I had all of the tools to prepare myself for the next level.”
With that, Sundown is now a vital part of the Riptide offense collecting 13 points in his first five games. Jumping from team to team in his collegiate and junior box career may have been a challenge, but it is what makes Sundown stand out on every roster he’s on.
“I have been able to take something special out of everywhere I’ve played,” Sundown said. “Being able to reunite with some guys on the Riptide I’ve played with in the past just shows this was all meant to be.”
With all the awards and honors Sundown has achieved in the past, there is no doubt that he will be making his mark in the NLL for years to come. A standout player who can find his role on any team is going to help turn the tide for this Riptide team soon.