Ohio Wesleyan senior midfielder Spencer Schnell’s dream of playing professional lacrosse was realized when he was drafted by Major League Lacrosse’s Ohio Machine on Jan. 10.
Schnell said being drafted as the first pick of the eighth round and 57th overall was a humbling experience.
“I was very excited to hear I had gotten drafted, as was my family,” he said. “It had always been a goal of mine throughout my playing career, and it’s very humbling to be mentioned alongside some of the best players in the country.”
Schnell was a 2013 first team All-American and second team All-NCAC selection who totaled 28 goals and 14 assists.
Ohio Machine Coach Bear Davis said Schnell is a strong athlete who has the ability to add depth at multiple positions.
The Machine’s 2-12 record in 2013 got them the first overall pick, used on Princeton senior Tom Schreiber. Syracuse University senior Scott Loy, who was taken 27th overall, is also an Ohio native. Davis said Ohio is producing quality lacrosse players.
“We take great pride in researching all available players from the great state of Ohio,” he said. “Spencer and Scott both came highly recommended, and the fact that they hail from the buckeye state is a major bonus.”
Last April, Schnell’s older sister Sloan died in a fire at Dublin apartment. The death came at hectic time for the Schnells, as Spencer prepared for the lacrosse team’s last four NCAC games that would decide tournament qualifications. Schnell said last season was in tribute to Sloan.
“(It) was very tough on me, but I was able to use lacrosse as kind of an escape,” he said. “For a few hours a day, lacrosse is the only thing on my mind. She was always incredibly supportive of my career, so it’s added some extra motivation for me to work hard.”
Currently, Schnell’s main priority is the Bishops’ upcoming season. The lacrosse program lost six seniors last year, four of whom were All-NCAC selections. One of the three current seniors, Stephen Coyne, said Coach Mike Plantholt has been developing a winning formula for the team and the players individually since his hiring.
“Coach Plantholt has been great over the past few years,” Coyne said. “He helped me accelerate my game as a freshman when I needed to step up, and he has continued to develop me as a player and as a person.”
The Bishops went 13-6 overall last season, earning a 6-1 record in the NCAC and winning the championship. The team lost in the first round of the NCAA D-III lacrosse tournament. Junior Tommy Minkler said the team has been preparing to repeat as NCAC champions.
“We have the potential to be a very dangerous team with a lot of threats on both ends of the field,” he said. “Our offense is forming great chemistry and some younger guys are really stepping up. “
Schnell will look to cap off a successful career by avenging their first round loss in the NCAA tournament. The team begins their season at Mount St. Joseph Feb. 19.