[Baltimore Sun] Loch Raven boys lacrosse senior Collin Nadolny makes splash coaching Special Olympics sailing

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One of the career highlights for Loch Raven senior Collin Nadolny was joining his brother, Matt, on the school’s boys lacrosse team.

“I’ve played with him pretty much my whole life because he was a grade above,” Collin Nadolny said, “so we’ve always kind of been playing together and it was cool to have one last season with him last year.”

Matt graduated in 2023 and is now a freshman on the sailing team at Washington College. This summer, Matt will join Collin in another one of his passions: volunteering for Special Olympics sailing.

The boys’ grandfather first introduced them to sailing. “He used to race sailboats, and when we were younger he wanted us to try to get into it. And we used to live near the water, so it kind of just came natural,” said Collin Nadolny, who grew up in Middle River.

Loch Raven lacrosse coach Nolan Kent rekindled that passion in Nadolny when Kent told the team he was involved with the Special Olympics program.

“[Collin] came out and he helped with a bunch of practices and this year he recruited his brother who is also going to come help us coach,” Kent said. “He really took the initiative and asked me basically, ‘How can I help?’ I brought him out and introduced him to it and he kept coming back.”

The Noldolnys aren’t the only ones making it a family affair. Kent has been involved since he got his first T-shirt in 2006.

“My family has done it for a long, long time,” Kent said. “My uncle, Dan Flanagan, has been the commissioner for Special Olympics for like 30 years. He was around when it first originated back in 1983. I have two older brothers that do it, a younger sister, dad and cousins and uncles. It’s a big family production.”

Sailing used to be a part of the Special Olympics of Maryland Mid-Summer Classic that also included kayaking and volleyball, but in 2012 sailing was declared a local popular sport and Special Olympics said it had to be run through private funding.

That hasn’t stopped the organization from holding its end-of-the-year regatta during the last weekend in July for the past 20 years at St. Mary’s College.

Nadolny, an Eagle Scout, missed the regatta last year because he was on a Boy Scout trip to New Mexico, but he plans on being there this year.

“I’m definitely going to try it this year,” said the senior, who acknowledged the price was right to get back into the sport. “When we did sailing camp it was really expensive, so being able to sail for free was pretty cool, especially to be able to help people and assist people that also loved it.”

Last summer, Nadolny trained with an experienced sailor.

“The athlete that I was with mostly, since it was my first year, he already had his own boat. So he was pretty able-bodied and all I had to do really was I just had to control the sail so he could focus on turning the boat with the tiller,” Nadolny said.

Easier said than done. Although the summer went without incident, he recalled a time when it didn’t go so well.

“I got hit with the boom and had the bolt stamped on my forehead for a month,” he recalled.

But was it worse than getting hit on the lacrosse field by his brother? “No, it was not.”

Noldolny has taken hits from opposing teams as well, but he plays through it.

“I’ve had a few times where I’ve been hit in the head hard and this year we were worried that I might have a crack in my radius, in my forearm, but I mean, nothing that has stopped me from playing,” he said.

Kent was thankful for that when Loch Raven defeated Patapsco, 13-8, two days after the Raiders fell to Catonsville, 17-2. Nadolny started at midfield but moved to defense after the Raiders fell behind against Patapsco.

“Collin had four caused turnovers at the defensive end and a couple good clears,” Kent said. “They didn’t score much when Collin got down there and he was able to help lead the defense and really make an impact for us.”

Nadolny is a tri-captain with Max Krasauskas and Joe Onyijen, who combined for 11 goals against Patapsco, and he takes his role seriously.

“We’ve got to hold ourselves to what we want the other guys to hold themselves to. So when we tell kids you can’t miss class and you’ve got to make grades, you also have to show them that,” said Nadolny, who is in the National Honor Society and Science National Society.

Nadolny also played soccer and threw shot put for the indoor track team, but he plans to play lacrosse in college and has narrowed his choices to McDaniel and Lebanon Valley.

A defender all his life, he has played midfield this year to help his college options and the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Nadolny has four goals and eight assists. In college, he plans to study physical therapy.

Photo by Craig Clary

Loch Raven senior Collin Nadolny has four goals this season playing defense and midfield for the Raiders. (Craig Clary/Staff)

“I want to do physical therapy, because I like the whole team aspects and working with athletes and especially because I want to be able to help people and I think it would be really cool,” he said. “The dream would be to work on a sports team, like a pro team as a PT.”

But right now he’s worried about his Raiders (2-3) making a deeper run in the playoffs.

“I’m definitely excited to see where the team is going to go, especially when I look back and think of where we started and just how us captains and stuff have been working with guys all year,” Nadolny said. “We’ve been getting guys out since the end of last year just trying to get their sticks moving and they have grown a lot. There were guys that were on the team last year that just had to step up to varsity and it’s been cool to watch those guys get better every day.”

Kent has watched Nadolny get better every year as well.

“In addition to bouncing back and forth from midfield to defense he also plays on our man-down defense and he plays on our extra-man offense. He’s kind of a utility guy for us,” Kent said.

It’s a role Nadolny thrives in, whether he’s on the lacrosse field or in the water.

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