Tucker Almany ’17 had a prolific three-sport career while at SJS, earning numerous All-MAC and All-County honors while representing the Saints in soccer, wrestling, and lacrosse.
In wrestling, Tucker placed seventh in the Maryland Independent State wrestling tournament and put together a 116-49 career record, one of only three Saints to surpass 100 wins (along with Jimmy Sutch ’07 and TJ Quelet ’19). He was a standout goalie on the soccer team, earning All-County honors after the 2015 season.
But his play as goalkeeper of the lacrosse team is where Tucker found the most success. He made
his mark by doing everything well— stopping shots, outletting passes, communicating with defenders, and providing leadership. Tucker was a two-time All-County goalie and was named Washington County Player
of the Year in 2017. He was also named a U.S. Lacrosse Academic All- American, one of the highest awards available to a high school lacrosse player.
Tucker is now a senior at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA, where he starts in goal for the men's lacrosse team. His road to becoming a Division-I lacrosse player began at age 7 or 8 when his aunt gave him his first lacrosse stick. Coming from an athletic family, lacrosse was just one of many sports he played growing up. His parents were both college athletes at Salisbury, with his father, Tim, playing football and his mother, Donna, on the swim team. His brother, Griffin ’20, was also on the SJS soccer, wrestling, and lacrosse teams and earned All-County recognition multiple times.
“Growing up, Griffin and I were both always playing sports every season,” said Tucker, who also participated in youth wrestling and football. “There was never a moment when I thought lacrosse was my thing. I just kept playing and it naturally progressed to that point by the time I got to high school.”
Tucker said he started playing in a local youth recreational league before joining a club team in Frederick, MD. It was then that he got his first taste of playing goalie, and while he continued to play field positions in recreational leagues, on his club teams he was primarily in goal, a position he has grown into over the years.
“It’s obviously at times stressful to be in goal because there is so much pressure. But I think I always play better in important games. I like being the leader of the defense and when you need to make a big save, you’re the guy everyone looks to,” he said.
Tucker believes that playing multiple sports while growing up and at Saint James helped his overall development as an athlete.
“Coming in as a college athlete I felt more prepared and able to adapt,” he said. “My quickness and speed I get from soccer and my drive and power I get from wrestling. If I were not a three-sport athlete I don’t think I would have had as much success, and I also would have burned out so much faster.”
He points out that he knows athletes who played lacrosse year- round for four or five years before college, and by the time they entered college, they no longer had the drive to continue playing.
“There were times I wouldn’t touch my lacrosse stick from November to February right before the season started just because I had played all spring and all summer,” Tucker said. “So playing other sports was good for not only athletic development but just for that refresh and to have fun and do other things.”
He committed to Saint Joseph’s in the spring of his fifth form year, a late recruit by Division-I standards according to Tucker.
“To be saying that it’s late as a junior, and that you would have to make that decision as a sophomore
or freshman is crazy,” he said. “That’s why some of the rules have changed for early recruiting, but a
lot of kids my grade or older end up transferring because they picked their college as a high school freshman and it wasn’t a good fit.”
After having his junior season abruptly cut short by the pandemic, he’s thrilled to be playing lacrosse again for the Hawks. They started the year in small training pods and eventually expanded to full-team practices by the end of the fall. He gives credit to the SJU athletic department for getting them back on the field safely.
“We get [COVID] tested three times a week, and they have to do
that for the entire athletic program, so that takes a lot of not only money but also coordinating,” Tucker said. “There was so much uncertainty this year, and the Ivy League and some other leagues are not playing, so for us to look at those schools and think about what our school is doing so we can play is huge.”
Tucker has thrived academically at Saint Joseph’s as well, consistently landing on the Northeast Conference Honor Roll.
“For academics, I was used to going to study hall every night and doing work and sitting down and doing it whereas a lot of my classmates were not,” he said. “Time management was the biggest thing that I
was more prepared than other people because I was so used to being so busy.”
Last year, he received the 2019 Dorie Leahy Award, presented to the SJU student-athlete who "possesses a real love of learning, is faith-filled, dedicated and loyal to their team/school. This student- athlete has the courage to fight the good fight." Tucker also serves on the SJU Student-Athlete Advisory Board working directly with Athletic Director Jill Bodensteiner.
Tucker said one of the most important lessons he learned at Saint James was how to treat people, especially those who are different from you or who may not agree with you.
“The opportunity to meet people from all over the country or world who have different views than you or have different ways of communicating, everyone is so different, and having those experiences at Saint James has been huge in learning how to handle certain situations,” he said. “A lot of kids I know grew up in a town with people very similar to them and didn’t have that same experience.”
Tucker will graduate this spring with a degree in Interdisciplinary Health Services (IHS) with a biology minor. He plans to take this summer off to travel before finding a job in the medical device field.