STEVENSVILLE, Md. — The 2024 high school lacrosse season is underway and the Kent Island High School men’s team has a target on its back.

They are entering the season as the 2A state champions of 2023, their fourth state championship and second in a row.

“Coming off back-to-back state championships is method for good and bad,” said head coach Robert Woolley. “Everyone knows you as the top dog that they’re looking to come after and try to take your spot.”

And while the titles and victories are nice to have, Woolley knows there is more to life than wins and trophies.

“I’ve always made it a staple every year to at least give up a day or more of our time to help others.”

His mission to give back started when Woolley was a young coach and organized a volunteer project, where the players cleaned under every desk in Kent Island High School.

“Kids have to understand that’s somebody’s job and there’s no reason why it can’t be theirs,” he said.

The volunteer projects have evolved over the years and now include working at Talisman Therapeutic Riding Farm or coaching kids at clinics through Woolley’s businesses, the Edge Training Academy and the Edge Arena.

They also help out with field days at elementary schools in Queen Anne’s County, which the players have just as much fun doing as the younger kids.

“They enjoy seeing the older guys. They look up to us and it’s good to go out there and be a leader,” said senior Tucker Claxton.

“It’s fun seeing the guys have so much fun with the kids and they’re loving it,” said senior Owen Wynot.

In 2013, Woolley started the non-profit Giving the Edge Foundation, after getting an anonymous donation. Their mission is to empower young people through fitness, character development and positive behavior.

“If we’re going to be working with these kids to provide their dreams and help them along that path, we have to find the extra things that make them special and community service and outreach was the way to do it,” Woolley said.

They have leadership programs in schools, positive behavior incentive programs and a ‘Win the Day’ initiative which honors students who go above what is expected.

The students also volunteer at events like Bounce Into Winter. Woolley fills the Edge Arena with giant bounce houses and families are encouraged to bring a food item or toy to donate for the holidays. He recalled the feeling of hope when they held the event last year.

“When I walked into the facility and saw all of these people being delivered Christmas, to know those kids would be in a moment of joy, I saw the Christmas spirit first hand. It was a pretty special moment.”

Whether it’s right in the community, or on the field, Woolley brings the passion to the task at hand and his students rise to the occasion.

“He’s a lacrosse coach but to him it’s not lacrosse, it’s about the young men we are becoming,” said junior Gavin Henry.

“When you blend the skill of coaching and his passion for the community, it’s a rare thing,” said Dan Harding, principal at Kent Island High School.

“If they leave here with a high school diploma, feeling good about themselves and know they can contribute in a lot of different ways to society, I think that’s a huge win for us,” said Woolley.

To learn more about Giving the Edge and how to support their work, click here.

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