Thomas Rigney has more than just his military commitment waiting for him, once he graduates. The U.S. Military Academy senior also will have the option of playing professional lacrosse.
Rigney, a Nokesville, Va., resident and Patriot High School graduate, was selected in the first round by two different leagues. On May 4, the Denver Outlaws picked the Army defenseman as the number 5 overall selection in the Major League Lacrosse Draft. On May 14, the Chrome Lacrosse Club took Rigney with the fourth overall pick in the Premier League Lacrosse Draft.
Rigney must wait on his next move for lacrosse, since the 16-game MLL regular season, which usually begins in early June, is on hold because of coronavirus. Instead of having a full season, the seven-team PLL has announced it will have a 20-game, two-week tournament, without fans, July 25-Aug. 9.
Rigney said he should be able to play professional lacrosse, while still fulfilling his five-year military commitment during the workweek, since games are on weekends.
“In the past, they’ve been able to do both,” said Rigney, who graduates June 13 from West Point.
Rigney was a team captain and an honorable mention all-American selection during this season, season shortened because of the pandemic.
Rigney, a starter since his junior season, was a second-team all-Patriot League selection, last year.
To keep himself busy, Rigney lifts weights in his family’s basement and goes to a nearby elementary school to bounce a lacrosse ball off a wall.
“I have a lot of time to do a good amount,” Rigney said.
Rigney’s father, Jim, introduced his son to lacrosse after playing it as a club sport at James Madison University.
Rigney flourished, becoming a two-time Cedar Run District Player of the Year and two-time U.S. Lacrosse All-American pick in high school.
While he had opportunities to play college lacrosse elsewhere, Rigney was sold on playing for the Army. One of his former high school coaches, Carl Kielbasa, graduated from West Point and was the main driving force behind Rigney considering it.
The school impressed Rigney, as did the educational offerings. The highly-regarded lacrosse program under head coach Joe Alberici only enhanced Rigney’s interest in West Point.
“The guys in the locker room are the best I’ve ever met,” Rigney said.
Rigney had hoped to finish out his senior year on a high note with his teammates. Although that didn’t happen the way he planned, he is grateful his lacrosse career isn’t over.
“It’s just nice to get out there and play,” Rigney said. “I’ve been playing my whole life. That’s all I can ask for now.”