Patrick Skalniak Following In Father’s Footsteps With Navy Men’s Lacrosse

Navy lacrosse is a family affair for junior midfielder Patrick Skalniak.

His father, Philip, is a 1983 graduate of the Naval Academy and a four-year lacrosse letterwinner for the Midshipmen, earning third-team All-America honors as a senior midfielder.

Skalniak’s uncle, William Anderson, is a 1982 graduate of the Academy and was a three-year lacrosse letterwinner.

Now, Skalniak has followed in their footsteps to become a star midfielder for the Midshipmen. Skalniak was announced in early April as one of 13 players among the second round of additions to the 2022 Tewaaraton Award Men’s Watch List.

For Skalniak, it all started early in life with his father.

“We are a military family,” Skalniak said. “Ever since I was a little kid, he would tell me stories of him on the lacrosse field and what the Academy was like. However, he only told me when I would ask. He is a very humble man and keeps to himself all of the time.

“It is really humbling to attend this institution and have the opportunity to play lacrosse as well. Additionally, for it to be the same place my father attended makes it that much more special. I wouldn’t change anything.”

Entering play April 23 against Army, Skalniak leads the Mids with 39 points (22 goals and 17 assists). The 6-foot-3, 200-pound midfielder posted a career-high six points on five goals and one assist in an 11-10 win against Colgate March 13.

Skalniak is the 17th midfielder in program history to reach 30 points in a season. The feat has been accomplished 27 times by 17 different players. He recently passed Greyson Torain (2019), Casey Rees (2016) and Mike Chanenchuk (1979) on the Mids’ single-season scoring list among midfielders.

Only four middies in school history have previously registered 40 or more points in a season — Bob DeSimone (44 in 1975), Ryan Wade (48 in 2019), Glen Miles (53 in 1986) and Brian Keith (53 in 1989).

“I just know my teammates are in position and we work well together for the offense to click,” Skalniak said. “It is comforting to get a great scout from the scout guys and see the exact same thing on game day as we do throughout practice during the week.”

Skalniak also played a key role in one of the Navy’s biggest wins in recent memory when the Mids knocked off Johns Hopkins, 11-10, on March 18. He had three goals to help the Midshipmen defeat the Blue Jays at Homewood Field for the first time since May 10, 1969, snapping a 22-game losing streak.

“It was a really cool and unique feeling, one that I will always remember,” Skalniak said. “It was two historic programs playing at a historic field down to the last second.”

Skalniak is always working on his game and finding ways to improve. He is a steady player who keeps the midfield organized and also provides a jolt to the attack. He has started in every game in which he has played during his career, scoring a point in each of those contests.

As a freshman, Skalniak started five games during the COVID-shortened campaign and was the team’s fourth-leading scorer with 10 points on five goals and five assists.

Last season, he earned first-team All-Patriot League honors after closing out the year as the Mids’ second-leading scorer with 24 points on 12 goals and 12 assists.

Skalniak is playing at an even higher level this season.

“I feel there is always room to improve and it is important to never settle in this sport, at this level,” Skalniak said. “I think it is important to improve my role physically and mentally and help the guys around me as much as possible while also receiving help from them.”

Skalniak hails from Texas, where he starred at The Episcopal School of Dallas. He was a two-sport athlete who earned letters in football and lacrosse and was the recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award.

“Lacrosse has grown so much in the state of Texas, you see a lot more kids now competing at the Division I level than ever before,” Skalniak said.

Navy is looking to win the Patriot League for the first time since 2009. The conference is deep and talented and often has several teams ranked in the national top 25 each week.

Skalniak is confident the Midshipmen can make a run at the conference tournament to continue the season in the NCAA Tournament in May.

“We need to focus on one game, one practice, one drill at a time,” Skalniak said. “If we look too far ahead, we will lose sight of what is important, and that is being in the present moment. We must give all of our focus and attention to where our two feet are. If we do this and stick to our plan and execute when we need to, we will get to where we want to be.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Navy Athletics

Issue 274: April/May 2022

Todd Karpovich

See all posts by Todd Karpovich. Follow Todd Karpovich on Twitter at @toddkarpovich