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Connor Kirst '15 Takes Lacrosse Career to New Heights
Mark Forbes '18

Not many people involved in the Lacrosse community are unaware of the impact the Kirst Family has had on the game of Lacrosse. As a family with five brothers, competition was inevitable. As the oldest, Connor Kirst '15 often had the upper hand over his younger brothers strictly because of his size. He was able to teach his brothers an important lesson in resilience. After playing the same games repeatedly in the backyard, quitting was never an option in the Kirst household, even when the younger siblings knew that winning was not an option either. Connor joked about how it would have been funny to have kept score of all the games to look
back and see a final scoreboard after all the competition they shared.

When Connor arrived at Delbarton, he did not fully know what to expect, but it is clear he left his imprint on the school, as well as the Delbarton Lacrosse team. During his Green Wave career, Connor earned 68 goals, 14 assists, and 56 ground balls. Head Varsity coach Matt Kovachik P'26 recalls Connor as “a great lacrosse player with a unique ability to connect with fellow teammates, as well as younger lacrosse players while working at camps.” Connor’s illustrious Delbarton career paved the way for his younger brother CJ Kirst '20 to follow in his footsteps. In just two seasons, CJ put up an impressive 91 goals and 38 assists. CJ, unfortunately, missed out
on his senior year on the lacrosse field after the COVID pandemic shut down sports across the country.

After his success at Delbarton, Connor took a post-grad year at Lawrenceville before continuing his lacrosse success at Villanova. During his Villanova career, Kirst put up 84 goals and 42 assists, as well as 101 ground balls and 15 caused turnovers. Kirst even found his way into the faceoff X where he went 44/137, a .321 faceoff win percentage. In his 2019 season, Kirst won Big East Midfielder of the Year, as well as numerous All-American honors. While playing at Villanova, Kirst played with fellow Delbarton Alumni including TJ Comizio ‘15, Keegan Khan ‘16, Colin Crowley ‘17, Chet Comizio ‘18 and Matt Campbell ‘18. Chet Comizio says of Kirst, “Connor was one of the best teammates and lacrosse players I’ve ever played with. He had an infectious enthusiasm that made competing every day at practice and in games much more fun and enjoyable. It's always special when you have a guy like Connor that shows everyone else on the team how to work hard but also enjoy the process and stay present. Kirst was one of my favorite teammates I've played with and it's really cool to see that carry on throughout his professional career as well.” After graduating from Villanova with a bachelor’s degree in communications, Connor joined his brother Colin, who had just graduated from Lehigh University, at Rutgers University.

While at Rutgers, both brothers left their impact on the program. Connor put up 37 goals and 16 assists, while his brother Colin had an impressive 10.77 goals-against-average and .566 save percentage with 137 saves and a 9-4 record, as well as winning the Big 10 Specialist of the Year. Both brothers walked away from the season with All-American honors.

After graduating from Rutgers with a master’s in supply chain management, Connor set his focus to the Premier Lacrosse League, where he was drafted 7th overall to the Whipsnakes. Connor said the transition to the PLL from Rutgers was similar to the transition from high school to college lacrosse. With the game played several steps faster, Connor says, “It took some time to adjust and some tough days but like anything, if you stick to it and dive in head first, you’ll figure it out.”

In addition to playing professionally in the PLL, Kirst is also a member of the Las Vegas Desert Dogs in the National Lacrosse League, a Box Lacrosse League. The Desert Dogs are owned by several prominent celebrities including Joe Tsai, hockey legend Wayne Gretsky, golfer Dustin Johnson and former basketball star Steve Nash.

Kirst says his experience has been unforgettable, and the ownership group could not be more supportive and invested in the team, as well as in growing the game of lacrosse. Prior to joining the Desert Dogs, Kirst had very little experience playing Box Lacrosse and had only played in a few tournaments because it was not easily accessible to someone growing up in New Jersey. That said, Kirst recommends young players giving Box Lacrosse a chance as it teaches you how to use your physicality, as well as quick decision making which all translates onto the Lacrosse field. In addition to playing in two professional Lacrosse leagues, Kirst works as a commercial real estate broker for Marcus and Millichap in Las Vegas.

Several months after being acquired by the Las Vegas team, Kirst had the opportunity to set a world record for scoring the highest lacrosse goal. Kirst jumped off the Las Vegas Stratosphere with his Lacrosse stick, where he managed to put the ball in the back of the net on the way down. About the experience, Kirst commented, “It was a blast but something I won’t do again. I’m not the biggest fan of heights but felt like it would be a cool experience, so I agreed to get it done.”

The Kirst family has continued to reach new heights. Connor has four younger brothers: Colin, Cole, CJ ‘20, and Caden. Colin graduated from Lehigh before meeting up with Connor at Rutgers and now plays for the Cannons in the PLL. Cole graduated from Lehigh and is now in his post-graduate year at Syracuse. CJ, currently a junior at Cornell, won the IVY League Rookie of the Year award last year and picked up right where he left off this year. His youngest brother, Caden, is currently committed to Rutgers.

The Delbarton community salutes Connor and the Kirst brothers on their many accomplishments both on and off the lacrosse field!