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This season the Hamilton Nationals’ rookies had great years, from breaking records to being selected to the All-MLL team. Three of the rookies from the Nationals headed to the Team USA Tryouts in Baltimore just a week after being in Philadelphia for Championship Weekend. Garrett Thul, Tucker Durkin and Mike Poppleton were three of eight Hamilton players to attend the tryouts, but were the only three that will continue on the trimmed down 52-man training roster.
THREE NATIONALS ON TRAINING ROSTER
by Becca Luden
With just one week between the end of the Nationals season and the tryouts, Durkin said it was more of a mental preparation than a physical one.
“I just kind of rested, tried to get ready, and mentally I just thought about the things I learned this summer from Brodie and from the Canadians. I tried to use that to my advantage and it went really well,” said the 2013 All-MLL Team defenseman.
Team USA invited 96 players to try out for what will end up being a 23-man roster to play in the 2014 Championship. Poppleton said that making the training roster was a huge honor.
“I would hate to be in the war room when the coaches were picking from this list because there are so many different factors and so many good players,” said the Johns Hopkins product. “They’re all awesome athletes so it’s a privilege.”
Lastly, Thul, who was an important piece of the Nationals’ offense this season, was almost speechless but said it’s a great opportunity and an honour. The West Point grad finished seventh on the Nationals with 13 points and was tied for the team-lead with three two-point goals.
“I don’t even know how to describe it just yet,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to having the opportunity to show everyone what I’ve got and compete at the highest level of our sport”
Thul, Durkin, and Poppleton will join the rest of the training roster in a series of events throughout the fall and winter that will end with a Champion Challenge that will determine the 23 spots on the roster. The annual event will be hosted on January 24th to the 26th at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.