Photos by Tom Hopkins and Pete Vining
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It was a hot and humid weekend at the Team Florida Showcase in Jupiter. For those looking to play with the top level of talent in the state in front of 60 college coaches then it was the place to be. When we spoke with the college coaches in attendance the depth of the talent seemed to be the recurring theme.
Brevard College’s Kevin Anderson said, “This is a great event because the depth of the talent, you’ve got kids from Jacksonville to Tampa, to South Florida, it’s a really great chance for those kids to come out and get in front of the college coaches and get a look. It’s one of our favorite events because it’s the one that really starts the summer recruiting season.” Brevard College is a Division ll NCAA program in North Carolina. They are gearing up for their first season.
Anderson added, “We are going on our first year and we are going to have a roster around thirty kids. We’ve got four kids from Florida plus everywhere else. It’s a great school and with great facilities and being up in the mountains it’s a perfect change for Florida kids to experience that. “
He was in town to look at the 2014’s to add some depth to all positions on his roster.
Young Harris’ Kirk Rogers is no stranger to the Florida recruiting scene. He reminded us that the entire Mountain Lions’ defense was made up of Florida talent. Rogers said about the event, “Every year we come down here and there is so much talent and it really goes under recruited. It’s such a well put together event, it’s a ‘must go to’ for us.”
The MCLA teams are getting in on the recruiting process as well. We had a chance to speak to UCF head coach James Foote about the process. “When parents find out that going to a private school up north which only has a few scholarships to spread out for their roster they may still be paying $30,000 per year. But you can come to UCF where tuition, room and board, and player dues, may cost about $5000 per year. We can’t offer money but we can save you a lot.”
These coaches and many others including legendary coach Richie Meade were treated to some fantastic action in the All-Star games at the end of the day. Coach Meade took time out on Saturday to speak at the All American dinner for the South Florida US Lacrosse Chapter.
One of the high points of the weekend was a great speech given by JU assistant coach Adam Silva who drew on his experiences with the Wounded Warrior Project to impress upon the young men the importance of selflessness on the lacrosse field and in life.
The cream did rise to the top in the All-Star games on Sunday. As the heat, humidity, and two grueling days of competition took its toll on many guys, a few rose and played great. One kid that really got our attention was Nicky Quintairos from Columbus. He seemed to be constantly making plays all over the field. His Columbus teammate Cody Brais also attracted attention.
Lake Mary’s Joshua Marmetschke and St. Thomas Aquinas’ Kyle Mamame both made the most of the opportunity and displayed talent.
Of course there were great players from the teams fresh off the final four, showing they have plenty in the cupboard for next year. Saint Andrew’s defenseman Alex Heatzig looked strong as did Christian Kimball, a 2015 d-pole from Ponte Vedra. We heard three people describe the play of Benjamin 2015 attackman Christopher Erdmann as “smooth.” It was no surprise to see Jake Bargas from St. Andrew’s playing well and Lake Highland’s Don Eidson looks like he will be ready for a larger role on next year’s LHP squad. St. Andrew’s Keith Mahler had a great outing and Yale Commit, Jerry O’Connor, showed the same great stuff he did all season to help Benjamin secure a final four berth. Ponte Vedra’s Cody Legeza and RJ Garcia showed up as they did every game during the 2013 season. Lake Highland’s LSM, Griff Caligiuri, turned a few heads as well. We thought Connor Poetzinger was one of the most impressive goalies of the weekend.
While it wasn’t surprising to see great play from those guys we saw some stellar play out of guys you may not have heard of before. Miami Country Day’s Jordan Karp scored quite a few goals in the All-Star event and is someone to keep an eye on. Oviedo’s Dakota Dunmire is a fast, versatile, lefty who had a great day at the midfield. Noah Menendez looked very fast and was a solid producer all weekend. Lane Artope from Orlando’s The First Academy played his best lacrosse of the weekend in the All Star game. Good young attackman took care of the ball and made
smart plays. Colton Stanger from Spanish River excelled and Dalton Cook, a rising senior middie from Bartram Trail, was on top of his game all weekend. The talent was so deep and diverse that All Star games represented over 40 different high schools.
In the U-15 division it was no surprise to see kids like Andrew Packer, who played for The Benjamin School in the FHSAA Final Four and Spanish River stand out, Davis Diamond, on the All-Star roster. Conlan O’Hara from Saint Andrews also had a stand out weekend. They are all solid proven players who played great this weekend. But we also got to see some up and coming talent from all over the state.
The U-13 crew was having so much fun they didn’t want to stop playing. After two solid days of lacrosse the parents were exhausted but the kids and coaches played until they had to shut it down.
According to Team Florida officials, the Team Florida invitations will be emailed out this week. They are selecting teams to attend the Battle of the Hotbeds, Tri-States, and the US Championships at Disney.
You can view these photos and many more at floridalacrossephotos