Zack Dorn picked up a lacrosse stick as a freshman at Cary-Grove to try the sport and hasn’t set it down yet.
Dorn, 23, has come a long way since then.
On Thursday, Dorn beat out four professional lacrosse players to win the fastest shot competition at the Major League Lacrosse Skills Competition at Harvard Stadium in Boston. Dorn’s 116 mph shot also broke the MLL record of 114 set by Charlotte Hounds attackman Mike Sawyer at last year’s competition.
The win earned Dorn a $1,000 prize from MLL.
The skills competition takes place during halftime of the MLL All-Star Game. The fastest shot competition featured four MLL players and one fan who won the pre-competition. Each contestant got two shots from 10 yards out with the requirement that the ball had to go in the net to count.
Dorn said he just wanted to have a qualifying shot on his first attempt.
“The first one I was just hoping it stayed in the net,” Dorn said. “I pretty much hit it right in the middle of the net and tied the record.”
With a 114 mph shot under his belt, it gave Dorn the freedom to let one loose.
“That definitely gave a little weight off the shoulders, tying the record on the first shot,” Dorn said. “The next one, I just have to give it my all and pray it goes in the net.”
Shooting fast is nothing new to Dorn.
“It started my summer after junior year in high school,” Dorn said. “We found out I could shoot 100 mph.”
As a player on the Chicago Outlaws, a team in the Continental Indoor Lacrosse League, and the manager of The LAX Shop in Bannockburn, Dorn has plenty of opportunity to hone his craft. It was at work that he made a video of him shooting 118 mph.
With that background, Dorn decided to make the trip to Boston and hopefully get a chance to compete against the pros. He said the officials at the fan competition said his 107 was the fastest they ever had seen there.
“I was definitely a little nervous about getting on the field,” Dorn said. “After I shot and hit 107, I felt pretty good. There’s not many fans that shoot over 100.”
As a freshman at Cary-Grove, Dorn decided to give lacrosse a try at the urging of his friend, Eric Steiner. Lacrosse was pretty new to the area and the Trojans had a co-op team with Prairie Ridge.
“Picking up a stick my freshman year, and now I have a world record,” Dorn said. “I have yet to put my stick down. I have not wanted to give up the sport once.”
Dorn’s record-setting performance was even more special because he got to share it with his father, Todd, and sister, Arianna.
“I know for a fact it would be completely different to not be able to hug my dad and sister,” Dorn said. “I could just hear them in the background cheering me on.”
Dorn is hoping the exposure he has received will benefit kids playing lacrosse in parts of the country that don’t place a big emphasis on lacrosse.
“I really want to make this a way to show kids in non-hotbed areas, you can not be from these hot bed areas and still (succeed),” Dorn said.
For himself, Dorn still is hoping one day to play professionally.
“You have a goal and set it and now you have to go to the next one,” Dorn said. “[Turning pro] would be another dream come true. This is just the first step.”
• Rob Smith is a sports writer for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at email@example.com.