adidas NATIONAL LACROSSE CLASSIC HIGHLIGHTS THE NATIONS TOP HIGH SCHOOL UNDERCLASSMEN TALENT: ROCHESTER WINS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Baltimore, MD – – The inaugural adidas National Lacrosse Classic featuring the top high school underclassmen boys on 16 regional teams from eight regions in the United States gathered at the sprawling Maryland Soccerplex in Germantown, Maryland, July 19-20, for an exciting weekend of high school boy’s lacrosse action.
In all, 31 games had been played in a 24 hours span. The first national championship went to Rochester, which defeated Delmar Prep (Baltimore Private Schools), 9-8 in a thrilling, back-and forth championship game, which was not decided until the final 30-seconds.
“We are pleased to provide this unique experience for the entire lacrosse community, said Jeff Bowyer of adidas Lacrosse. “Our vision is to expose parents, coaches and student athletes to the rapidly growing sport of lacrosse at all levels to all areas of the country.”
Crowning a champion is an exciting proposition, but according to Joel Franklin, Chairman of Level 2 Sports and the Event Director there is a higher goal at stake.
“There is a wide diversity of lacrosse talent throughout the United States, but many of these players are not receiving the exposure that they deserve,” said Franklin. “Recruiting budgets for most college programs have not grown at the same pace as the game’s popularity and it is difficult for coaches to find opportunities to actually meet the players and see them play. We wanted to provide that platform and we are grateful to the folks at adidas Lacrosse for helping to make this a reality.”
Players were selected to their regional team over the past two months after a 3 hour evaluation by high school coaches that included individual position drills, time-testing for speed and a series of games. Regional teams from Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Greensboro, Long Island, Los Angeles, Orlando, Princeton, Rochester, San Francisco and Washington DC-Virginia competed in the first-ever of its kind National High School Games.
“This (tournament) is a perfect example of where the sport is going,” says Scott Conklin, who coaches at Episcopal School in Northern Virginia. “Players from all over the country come here to compete against the best. The guys from Denver, Orlando, and California are hanging in there. You can tell they have great athletes and their stick skills are coming around. They understand the game much better than four or five years ago. It’s not going to be long before lacrosse is nation-wide and there’s going to be 10 to 12 hotbeds.”
This tournament was well attended by NCAA lacrosse coaches seeking recruits. Coaches were on-hand to watch the underclassmen games from schools such as Army, Navy, Princeton, Virginia, Drexel, Salisbury, Washington College, Ohio State, Penn State, VMI, Fairfield, Hobart, Loyola, Stony Brook, Vermont, Villanova, UMBC, Gettysburg, Seton Hill, Emerson, Fisher, Belmont Abbey, Randolph Macon, Hampton Sydney, Stevenson, LeMoyne, Lynchburg, Dickinson, Guildford and Hood. Maryland, Towson, Nazareth, RPI and RIT also had representatives in attendance.
According to Mike Blanchard, Head Lacrosse Coach at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, “The adidas National Lacrosse Classic ran so well, and was so thought out, that I was amazed that this was an inaugural event.”
“This event gives high school underclassmen the rare opportunity to play with other great players from their area and join together to become the best lacrosse region in America,” says Zack Burke, Baltimore Sun’s Coach of the Year.
The National Champion, Rochester, will play for the Brodgen Cup against Canada in Orlando, Florida, December 5-8, 2008. “I’m going to Disney World!” Kyle VanThof shouted to the absolute amusement of his teammates, who surrounded him during a post-game interview.
Tylon Thompson scored three goals and VanThof netted two – including the game-winner with less than 30 seconds left in the game to lift Rochester to a thrilling 9-8 victory over a talented Delmar Prep team on Sunday. The Delmar Prep team is comprised of private school players from the Mid-Atlantic region of Delaware and Maryland. This team has a handful of players that have already committed to attend and play for Division I lacrosse programs.
Chris Lightner, a 3 year varsity lacrosse starter and team captain of the 17-2, 2008 Calvert Hall lacrosse team has recently committed to attend and play lacrosse at Johns Hopkins University. Calvert Hall teammates Tyler Adelsberger and Jason McFadden have committed to Ohio State and Georgetown, respectively.
Coaches Bill Cherry, head lacrosse coach at Manhasset High School and Steve Finnell, head coach at Garden City had teamed-up to coach the adidas Long Island team. Manhasset and Garden City is known to be the oldest high school lacrosse rivalry in the nation.
Zack Burke, head lacrosse coach at Archbishop Spalding in Maryland was honored by the Baltimore Sun as 2008 Coach of the Year. Mark Sweeney, head lacrosse coach at Madison High School in New Jersey has an impressive coaching background. He was the 2007 Star Ledger Coach of the Year, 2007 Fitch division Coach of the Year, 2006 NJILO Len Roland Sportsmanship Award recipient, 2004 New Jersey State Coach of the Year and Member of the New Jersey North Chapter US Lacrosse Board of Directors.
Mike Vergalito, head coach at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in New Jersey was the 2007 Pitt Division Coach of the Year. A quick look at the adidas Event Media Guide indicates the impressive accomplishments of all participating high school coaches.
The field of 16 regional teams was divided equally into four pools. The top 2 teams from each pool advanced to the adidas Elite Eight on Sunday morning.
No.1 seed Delmar Prep (Baltimore Private) 9, No.8 seed Columbus, OH 3
No.2 seed Marva Prep (Washington DC-VA Private) 6, No. 7 seed Chicago 5 (OT)
No.3 seed Rochester, NY 10, No. 6 seed Long Island, NY 2
No.4 seed Delmar (Baltimore Public) 10, No.5 seed Princeton, NJ 5
No. 3 seed Rochester 11, No. 2 seed Marva Prep (Washington DC-VA Private) 5
No.1 seed Delmar Prep (Baltimore Private) 7, No.4 seed Delmar (Baltimore Public) 4
No.3 seed Rochester 9, No 1. Seed Delmar Prep (Baltimore Private) 8