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Rees and Ohlmiller – Lacrosse’s Power Couple

Today is Valentines Day, and lacrosse is our Valentine. We love the game, and we love those who love it, too. This is the case for lacrosses power couple, Ryland Rees and Kylie Ohlmiller, whose mutual love for the game kindled a love for each other.

Rees and Ohlmiller were good friends while they both attended Stony Brook University – it was common for the mens and womens teams to hang out – but they never dated. It wasnt until the summer of 2021, at a PLL game on Long Island, that they began to take their friendship to the next level.

On July 4th in 2021, Rees and the Waterdogs competed at James M. Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University. Ohlmiller was in the stands with some of her Stony Brook friends taking in the action. Following the game, in which the Waterdogs lost to the Redwoods 19-16, Rees went to a local bar with some of his friends. He and Ohlmiller bumped into each other there, and the rest is history.

In college, whenever I saw Kylie at anything we were both at, we were pretty friendly,” Rees said. We kind of clicked a little bit, but she was taking her time, so I couldnt do anything about that. Really, after hanging out with her for the first couple of times after that PLL game, the next time we saw each other was at her Athletes Unlimited game [a few weeks later]. It was the first year that was starting, and it was cool seeing her do what she loves and does best. Connecting with lacrosse made it a lot easier, and weve been fortunate enough to make it work so far.”

Rees, a Port Coquitlam, BC native, plays for the Rochester Knighthawks, the PLL’s Waterdogs and Team Canada, where he helped his country win silver at the 2023 World Mens Lacrosse Championship. He attended Stony Brook from 2016-2019, starring for the Seawolves mens lacrosse team.

Kylie Ohlmiller, is from Islip, New York. She plays in the Athletes Unlimited Pro Lacrosse League (pro womens lacrosse) and for Team USA. Ohlmillers time at Stony Brook overlapped with Rees for three years, from 2016 to 2019. While there, she set NCAA records with 246 career assists and 498 points. Playing in the AUPLL, Ohlmiller led the league in points in 2021 with 48 and was third in points in 2023 with 29.

Rees and Ohlmiller have not only been able to make their relationship work while they both pursue professional and international lacrosse dreams, theyve made their relationship thrive. In the fall of 2022, Rees and Ohlmiller bought a house together in Rochester. They are accompanied by their dog, Oakley.

Living together makes their relationship run smoothly. Between the NLL and PLL, Rees plays lacrosse for 10 months of the year. With the AUPLL womens games taking a few months, as well as the camps and clinics Ohlmiller runs with her company KO17 Lacrosse, that’s a lot of time that they are both out of the house and are often in different states.

When they are in Rochester together, they spend much of their bonding time at the gym. They have different workout routines and different goals to reach, but they see each other as teammates, each trying to reach their potential when theyre working out.

We both play professional lacrosse, and we both play international lacrosse, but that kind of looks different for both of us,” Ohlmiller said. I think thats very interesting and unique, so our schedules dont match up too much. [Our careers] definitely keep us busy. Theres lots of training, so we try to train together. Thats a lot of our time together if we have busy days – well meet up at the gym together.”

For the next three quarters of the year, both Rees and Ohlmiller are targeting one of the biggest events of their lacrosse careers. They are both preparing to make their final national team rosters at the 2024 World Box Lacrosse Championships set for September 20th-29th in Utica, New York, which is only about a two-hour drive from where they live.

Team Canadas box team is one of the hardest rosters to crack in all international lacrosse competitions, so Rees is putting in all the work he can to lock up a spot with his nations team. Ohlmiller is new to the box game, as many pro womens lacrosse players are, but she’s a shoe-in to represent Team USA this fall. Rees has been making sure to be as helpful to Ohlmiller as possible by training with her at the local outdoor box in Rochester.

This whole box experience has been pretty cool for us,” Rees said. Obviously, this is the first time theres womens box at the Worlds. Ive seen her pick up a boys stick – I dont remember the last time I saw her pick up a boys stick. Weve been going to the outdoor box here with Emily Hawryschuk, another Rochester girl, whenever its not snowing. Its fun to go out to the box and have them ask me questions, and I can talk through box lacrosse, which is something kind of new to a lot of these [US Nationals] girls.”

Ohlmiller couldn’t be more excited to represent her country on the world stage. She stated that whenever she is able to attend Knighthawks games to watch Rees play, she takes notes and tries to figure out all the ins and outs of how the game is played compared to the field.

Its going to be a great eight months,” Ohlmiller said. Im trying to learn a whole new version of the game, and for him, its something that hes grown up around. Its vice versa for us. He might have grown up around box and then went to college for field, which was newer for him. Im able to pick the brain of someone of his caliber, someone so close to the box game.”

Individually, these two have reached impressive heights in the lacrosse world, but together, they are a lacrosse super couple. This Valentines Day, we thank them for their love of the game we love and their love for each other.

 

NLL