In partnership with the Matt Wyble Team of Century 21 New Millennium, the Severna Park Voice’s Student-Athlete of the Month series seeks to recognize the many student-athletes in our area who make an impact not necessarily by way of statistics or stardom, but by their unique contributions. The quiet leader, the solid role player, the glue guy or gal, the community voice on or off the field — those are the kids we seek to recognize. Do you know a young person in our community making a positive impact through or alongside sports? Nominate them by contacting Colin Murphy at email@example.com.
Anyone who saw the Severna Park boys lacrosse team this year bore witness to a spontaneous chant of 30 young men that was liable to erupt anytime anyone did anything worthy of celebration:
“Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey!” the chant went.
It was the collective cheer of a team thrilled by the contributions of teammate Joey Killpatrick.
Joey, a rising senior, brought a diligent ethos and an industrious team-first mentality to Severna Park’s state-championship season. As a midfielder, Joey was charged with the dirty work of ground balls, clearances and defense, a role well suited to his humble personality.
He isn’t the type to puff out his chest and celebrate, so his teammates did it for him, resurrecting a cheer they first started during Shipley’s Choice swim meets years ago and bringing it to the lacrosse field.
“I’m not really sure what started during the season, but it caught on pretty quickly,” said Joey. “It was definitely cool to hear that during the game and hear the student section chanting it.”
It had a way of capturing the joy the team was experiencing as they played; the Falcons even began chanting it shortly after the final horn of the team’s state final victory over Howard. Coach Dave Earl said seeing the Falcons celebrate in such a way showed how much everyone valued Joey’s team-first approach to the game.
“I think it just speaks to his personality,” said Earl. “It goes to show what a great teammate he is. Everybody loves him, and when he makes a play, everyone goes nuts on the sidelines. As a kid, Joey’s just an amazing person. He’s always positive, always has a smile on his face, will do anything we ask of him on or off the field. Everybody loves and respects Joey.”
Undersized at 5-foot-7 and just 145 lbs, Joey plays the unglamorous position of a short-stick defensive midfielder, a position in which sacrifice for the team is bound up in the essence of the role.
Joey plays it with outsized tenacity.
“A lot of times I get matched up with bigger guys, so I have to be aggressive,” said Joey. “I just try to do the small things well, win my matchups on defense, clear the ball well, get ground balls, and do all those small things.”
He was critical in the trenches for Severna Park, totaling 43 ground balls, adding eight goals and nine assists and leaving countless players in his wake in the midfield, using blinding foot speed and precise angles to successfully clear time and again.
“On the field, he’s just tough as nails,” said Earl of Joey. “A hard-nosed competitor, great ground ball guy between the lines. Plays great defense but also can play some offense too. Excellent stick work. The clearing game is huge for us, and we wouldn’t have been as successful in that without Joey, for sure. He’s got speed and knows the right angles to take, picks the ball off the ground and goes. All you can say is positive about Joey.”
Doing the work to be successful is something Joey has always carried both on the lacrosse field and in the classroom. He has maintained a 4.4 cumulative GPA through high school and is ranked 38th in his class at Severna Park.
Joey’s father, Patrick Killpatrick, described him as “reserved, humble, hard-working” and intrinsically motivated to do his best.
“He’s always been the kind of kid where we didn’t really have to do anything. We just feed him, basically,” said Patrick with a laugh. “We’re very proud of him.”
Joey’s humble nature even extended to his selection as the Voice’s Student-Athlete of the Month. When Patrick first informed him of the recognition, Joey’s first instinct was to defer to a teammate.
“It should be Akshay Shah,” Joey said, naming a classmate and teammate. “Akshay is a good defenseman and good student, a good locker-room guy and a good person.”
Joey is playing club lacrosse this summer and hopes to strengthen his game enough to potentially play in college. In the meantime, he plans to continue to do well in school, play scrub basketball in the winter and be ready to contribute to the Severna Park varsity team again next spring, like he did this spring in helping the team achieve its goals.
“It was definitely awesome to win the state championship,” Joey said. “We had a great season with some adversity when [goalie] Shane [Carr] got hurt and Casey [Fox] stepped in and played really well. We held off Broadneck at the end of that game in a close game . It’s just cool to be part of the program when there are alumni coming to every game supporting you. My brother [Matthew Killpatrick] was on the 2016 state championship team, and I remember thinking that was really cool, and to get to do that this year was awesome.”