He drinks a water bottle per class to stay hydrated, eats steak and eggs every morning before a game, watches film before bed, and his leg shakes beneath his desk in excitement for Friday nights at Piper Field.
Meet Marblehead High’s biggest competitor, football and lacrosse star Connor Cronin.
The senior and Marblehead native caught 41 balls for 758 yards and six touchdowns this past fall, and in lacrosse, scored 65 goals and dished out 34 assists for the 17-0 Magicians (at press time).
All that said, how does he do it?
First of all, sports are, frankly, what he enjoys most. He’s played football, lacrosse, basketball, baseball, and even club tennis growing up.
“It’s just what I enjoy,” Cronin said. “It’s how I’ve made all of my friends – the same ones I went to the park with in second grade.”
From there, it’s all about his competitive spirit. Jokingly, Cronin said some of it comes from his older brother, Tim, continuously beating “the baby of the family” in basketball. That was before Cronin turned into a 6-foot-3, 190-pound wrecking ball.
And even with his friends, it never stopped.
“Even when I’m out with my friends at the park, I’m being competitive,” Cronin said. “Obviously, I’m there to have fun, but I’m there to be competitive, too.”
Well, the park translated to the turf. The Cronin effect is real. Across his four years of football and lacrosse, both teams have lost a combined seven games (five in lacrosse; two in football).
“That’s something really special and unique,” Cronin said. “The brotherhood that Marblehead sports has had – it’s just made us very successful.”
Indeed. His lacrosse team is undefeated, and behind Cronin’s 10 catches for 263 yards, the football program won its first Super Bowl back in 2021 (35-28 against North Attleboro).
Not only does he remember that day, but the detail-oriented Cronin said he’ll never forget being in victory formation as the clock ticked down.
“Going into Gillette Stadium [and] looking up, it was just a special day,” Cronin said. “Just looking up and seeing the stars, knowing we were state champions, that’ll be a moment I’ll always remember.”
As for lacrosse, Cronin had a hard time naming his favorite memory. He added that all of his games were full of his favorite thing: intensity.
“The speed of lacrosse has always made me love the sport,” Cronin said. “And contact – I love contact.”
For aspiring athletes at Marblehead High, take notes. In what must be some recipe, Cronin blasts loud music and eats the same thing before games.
“My dad would usually drop off a Manhattan sandwich,” Cronin said of the beloved sandwich shop in town. “The empire club was my go-to sandwich.”
But from there, after the exercise bike and some stretching, it’s all about focus.
“You have to be locked in. No distractions,” Cronin, who says the hour before games is the most stressful, said. “If someone tries talking to me, I’m sorry, I’m locked in.”
Despite his 234 career points in lacrosse pads, he’ll arrive at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut wearing football ones this fall.
“I love the contact and fastness of the game,” Cronin said. “That’s what puts football over the rest… It kind of just took over a little bit.”
He also received an offer from Cornell University to play football, and sports a 3.94 grade-point average at Marblehead.
“My goal is to use my athletic ability to play football at a high level and receive a high academic degree,” Cronin said.
But whatever he does, and wherever he goes, number 22 will always be Marblehead-made.
“Since the second grade, playing with the same group of people is truly something special,” Cronin said. “There will never be a reunion where we come back and don’t remember those games.”