Inter-Ac Challenge: Brendan Black The Driving Force Behind Hun School’s Start – See more at:

This is the second preview story for the Inter-Ac Challenge. The Challenge, which is comprised of six Inter-Ac League teams and six of their guests, will begin May 11 and culminate May 18 with the championship game at PPL Park. Click here to find out more about the Challenge. Click here to purchase tickets for the semifinals and final. Click here to read about Malvern Prep All-American faceoff specialist Charles Kelly.The Hun School has been a part of Brendan Black‘s life since birth. Not always directly, not always front and center, but omnipresent.Even when Black was living in Kinnelon, New Jersey, some 60 miles away from Hun, he still knew about the school from what his father, a Hun alum, told him. It made perfect sense, then, that when the Blacks moved to Princeton when Brendan was in seventh grade, there was only one logical school for him to attend.

When Brendan came into the school, the Raiders’ varsity team’s record hovered around .500, a solid, yet unspectacular squad. It certainly didn’t beat rival and fellow Inter-Ac Challenge participant Lawrenceville School very often, and too often, it found itself on the wrong end of blowouts against the Big Red. Since then, though, things have changed.

“We haven’t had a lot of players graduate in the three years since (Raiders coach) M.V. (Whitlow) has been here,” said Black, a senior midfielder. “We’ve had a lot of young guys come in together and work their way up through the ranks, especially since there have been small senior classes. As a group, we’ve really grown a lot. This senior class has basically been together since seventh grade, so we’re very close.”

That closeness has paid major dividends for Hun, which has not only asserted itself as one of the Garden State’s top programs this year, but also as one of the country’s elite. The Raiders have stormed out to an 9-0 record with marquee wins over nationally-ranked teams like IMG Academy National and St. Augustine Prep and, for the first time in what seems like forever, an enormous win over Lawrenceville. Black insists that the wins haven’t increased interest in lacrosse at Hun, if only for the reason that students and faculty are always keen on what the Raiders do in any sport.

“It’s nice because we go to a great school where teachers and students all support every sport,” Black said. “We’ve had sipport all the way from families of the school and it’s nice to know that your school is behind you and backing you up. At the same time, we don’t look ahead much. Our goal from the beginning of the year was to take it one game at a time and not to look ahead, but to look at what’s right in front of us. As a team, we focus every day at practice and we focus on every game, no matter who we’re playing.”

At the same time, it’s fair to say that Black struggled to envision a scenario where Hun would be among the most talked-about teams in the country.

“I never really thought it would be this great and be what it’s been,” Black said.

Black’s senior class has been a major reason for the Raiders’ resurgence, along with a group of talented post-graduate students like Chris Donovan (Georgetown)Brendan Rooney (Yale)Chris Asianian (Hobart) and Robert Kuhn (Johns Hopkins). Even with a wealth of talent around him, though, there’s no doubt that Black’s leadership has helped Hun become one of the most talked-about teams in the nation.

“I guess I have been a leader, but I kind of fell into it,” said Black, a Villanova commit. “We have a lot of leaders, whether they’re captains or not. My team knows I have their back and they have mine. It’s about the team and whatever we can do to help the team be successful.”

“Brendan is a very unique and talented leader,” Whitlow said. “He’s a super cool young man who really gets it.”

That leadership is an enormous reason why the Raiders have a good shot to play in the Inter-Ac Challenge’s semifinals, and, perhaps, the championship. If the tournament started today, Hun would be the No. 2 seed and with its pedigree this season, could have a very legitimate chance at playing at PPL Park on May 15. That fact isn’t lost on Black, who wants to leave Hun with a bang, but it’s also important to him to support a cause like the Challenge, which is donating all net proceeds from the event to charity.

“At Hun, we do a lot of things to benefit other people,” Black said. “We coach younger kids and help the community and their lacrosse programs. A lot of us help out at the Princeton Lacrosse Club in the fall and winter and when we’re off in the spring. It’s great to be part of a tournament that does this. The Inter-Ac is such a great league with so many great teams and players, so to make it that far would be a huge honor. We just have to finish strong.”

Follow the Inter-Ac Challenge on Twitter and Facebook. Brendan Black photo courtesy of Kevin P. Tucker of U.S. Lacrosse Magazine.

Matt Chandik

Matt serves as the Communications Coordinator for NXT full profile

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