Wood and Zinn prove to be unstoppable for Staples’ lacrosse

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Cooper Boardman, Paper Sports

The dynamic duo of Tanner Wood ’17 and Evan Zinn ’18 are a formidable pair in the midfield for the Staples’ lacrosse team. Since they play on the same line, the freshman and sophomore standouts often find themselves on the field at the same time—a dizzying and nearly impossible combination to stop.

Wood and Zinn are committed to Syracuse University (the number two team in the country) and Johns Hopkins University (number 20 in the country) respectively, and the two underclassmen have been touted as the players who will help lead Staples back to the state championship game, where they fell 13-10 to Greenwich in 2014.

Both began their lacrosse journeys early in elementary school. By middle school, the pair had realized their potential as members of the Westport PAL lacrosse program.

“Around seventh grade, my uncle put on a college lacrosse game for the first time, and [I] thought it was the coolest thing to play for a big time school,” Wood said.

Less than three years later, and halfway through his sophomore year, he was verbally committed to the number two collegiate lacrosse team in the nation.

For Zinn, his early talent manifested into a commitment months before he ever put on a Staples uniform. “Hopkins felt like a home away from home,” Zinn said. “So I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to play and attend school there.”

The 2014 summer showcases proved to be a vital part of the recruiting process—Wood excelled as a member of the Connecticut Chargers at Blue Chip Showcases. Blue Chip Showcases are summer lacrosse tournaments that provide players with exposure to collegiate coaches. As a result, he had considerations from Syracuse, Fairfield University, Rutgers University and the University of Maryland before ultimately deciding to become an Orangeman.

For Zinn, he visited Virginia, Penn, Hopkins and Brown after participating in the Big 4 Champions League as a member of the Long Island Express. The league’s website’s slogan self-describes it as “Putting Dedicated Players in Front of the Nation’s Top Coaches,” and the payoff was immense for the freshman, as he opted to head to Hopkins for his college career.

By the beginning of Staples’ 2015 campaign, Wood and Zinn were focused on performing on the FCIAC varsity stage, yet another step up for each player.

The FCIAC is one of the top lacrosse conferences in America, featuring national powerhouses such as Darien (14 in the nation as ranked by LaxPower), Ridgefield (44) and New Canaan (47).

“It’s great always playing at a high level because I feel like it makes me better skill-wise and maturity-wise as an individual,” Wood said.

Nonetheless, competing against upperclassmen has not been a problem; together, the 6’2 freshman and 6’1 sophomore have terrorized FCIAC defenses, combining for nine goals in a five game stretch in mid-April.

MSG Varsity’s Tri-state Lacrosse Expert, Jon Barr, describes Zinn and Wood as an “excellent young core,” and the Wreckers hope the duo can help them hoist the state championship trophy come June—something they have failed to do each of the last two years—despite back-to-back trips to the title game.

Come 2018 and 2019, Evan Zinn and Tanner Wood will be playing collegiate lacrosse, but for the next few years Connecticut lacrosse fans will have the privilege of enjoying two of the best players in the nation take the field with “Staples” across their chests.