You can put Kevin Gayhardt down in the Episcopal Academy history books.
The rangy 6-4, 210-pound defenseman became the first EA boy to be named to the prestigious Under Armour All-America Game. Gayhardt claimed All-Delco honors as a junior, the lone non-senior to make the 2012 team, and his game has taken a big step forward this year. He’s earned a reputation as a shutdown defender who can take out the opposition’s top scoring threat. Because of that, he’ll be headed to Towson University July 8 to take place in the UA game.
“It’s really exciting,” Gayhardt said. “It’s a great honor. It’s something that I’ve kind of had as a personal goal of mine for a long time now. I think it’s kind of a landmark achievement. I’m very excited about it. My goal is to be the best and I think this is definitely a way to measure where you are in terms of being one of the best in the country. They market it as the top 44 players in the country, so hopefully that’s what it is.”
2011 Daily Times Player of the Year Taylor Trimble (Duke) became the first EA student to play in the game, but Gayhardt still has a piece of history in becoming the first boy to play. Gayhardt played a major role in helping Team Philadelphia win the UA Underclassmen Games, something that undoubtedly helped him land a spot on this year’s team. His shutdown work for one of the state’s best defenses didn’t hurt, either.
“They usually say that they have you on the radar from the tournament last year,” the Penn signee said. “I think I had a pretty strong start to the season, so I think that helped me and obviously, I got to match up with some of the more highly-regarded players in the country early in the season and I think I kind of held my own. I think that helped.”
Churchmen coach Andy Hayes knows that he can count on Gayhardt to limit the other team’s best attackman, which in turn helps EA focus the rest of its defensive effort elsewhere. Garnering that kind of trust didn’t come overnight for Gayhardt, but he’s enjoyed the matchups that he gets because of it.
“As much as we focus on team defense at Episcopal, I think I really enjoy challenging myself,” Gayhardt said, “and I always want to draw the top matchup and win my matchup. Me winning my matchup helps the team win, so that’s something I look forward to and take upon myself.”
Gayhardt helped EA come within a game of sharing its first Inter-Ac title in 15 years before the Churchmen fell to Haverford School, 11-6, yesterday. As much as that will bother him for a while, he knows that EA can bounce back by defending its Inter-Ac Invitational championship as the No. 2 seed. The Churchmen get a bye through Monday’s first round and will face off against the winner of the Shipley School-Germantown Academy matchup Wednesday at EA. Finishing on a high note would be a nice end to his Churchmen career.
“Not to get too far ahead, but beating Haverford and Malvern (Prep) would be a nice way to go out,” Gayhardt said. “Hopefully it works out.”
Last year’s boys Under Armour game featured four Delco boys. The Haverford School duo of All-Delcos Will McNamara (Virginia) and Sam Rohr (Penn) were named, though McNamara sat out the event due to a foot injury. Rohr managed to score a goal, scoop up a ground ball and cause a turnover. Joining them on the South team were the Garnet Valley duo of two-time All-Delco Ryan Lehman (Maryland) and Ryan Guittarre (Penn State). Lehman went 1-for-1 at the faceoff X in the game and both helped anchor the South defense.