The Cali*Lax ALL-STARS traveled to Everett Washington on Jan 28 to battle the Jr Stealth in the Midget (U16) and HS Elite Divisions. The games were played in the Comcast Arena, home of the Washington Stealth.
The Jr Stealth are directed by Lewis Ratcliff, one of the NLL’s most prolific goal scorers. The Cali*Lax ALL-STARS are directed by the former captain of the San Jose Stealth Shaydon Santos.
The talk of the tournament was the Cali*Lax ALL-STARS Midget team, going 4-0 and breezing through British Columbia’s Delta and Langley Box teams. The Cali*Lax ALL-STARS beat a solid Jr Stealth two different times to round out the tournament.
The Cali*Lax ALL-STARS midget team has been together for four years now and have been on four different Canadian tours playing powerhouse Canadian Box teams such as Whitby 1, Brampton, Peterborough and Kitchener.
“There’s always people out there who think American’s can’t play Box or that we just play that game all Canadians cringe at, indoor field lacrosse , but I used everything I learned in my 12 year NLL career and 13 years in the top youth system in Canada to transform these players into Box players. We finally have a group of players that can call themselves the real deal. They have been committed to the game and its training and it’s starting to pay off” says head coach Shaydon Santos.
The Midget U16 team swept the University of Denver’s junior development program a month ago at the California Invitational. “Matt Brown, the Associate Head coach of Denver was blown with our development, he wanted to know if our guys could play field as good as they could play Box” says Santos. “Because of our performance in Box we have a number of our players who got into the Top 205 recruiting camp this summer”.
“The California kids are as legit as they come, I’d put them in the very top tier of BCLA lacrosse” says Brent Yanko the head coach of the Ridge Meadow Burrards Bantam Team whose son Ty is a Team BC player and one of the best in the province.
“Just like any successful NLL team I’ve been on , it’s not complete without a blend of Canadian and American ballers. We’ve added a few key players to our roster including Team BC player Tre LeClair whose brothers attend the Hill Academy, one of the top Varsity programs in North America. We’ve also added the Team BC Bantam captain Ty Goff, already on scholarship to one of Virginia’s top prep schools who’ll no doubt be following in the footsteps of Kevin Crowley” say Santos.
There were many coaches and managers from the BC Intermediate A and Junior A programs including Ridge Meadows Intermediate A President David Bailuk, Head Coach Doug McQuarrie and Vernon Tigers Junior B scouts interested in talent for their BC teams.
The Cali*Lax ALL-STARS HS-Elite program were out muscled by a very strong Jr Stealth team losing 3 games to one. Leading the way for the Cali*Lax ALL-STARS was Nor Cal All-American Logan Rooney, the Box Lacrosse Academy’s Sam Oliver and goaltender Robert Kousnetsov.
The Jr Stealth HS Elite team were powered by Washington’s top High School players in the Seattle Starz program, also directed by Lewis Ratcliff, which included a very impressive and the west’s first University of Maryland commit Colin MacIlvennie. “Colin’s a great player with a growing lacrosse IQ, from the Starz program I pushed him towards the Stealth Lacrosse Academy to learn the Box game. Colin’s game has exploded, he’s the talk of the town and he’s going to do great in Maryland” say Ratcliff.
“My Starz program is a great feeder program for the Stealth Academy, I have the top field players in the Pacific northwest all learning to play Box with me at the Academy and playing in events with our partners the Cali*Lax ALL-STARS and the University of Denver. We’re going to be pretty tough to beat.”
The Cali*Lax ALL-STARS return to Washington on February 10 with their pee wee U12 and bantam U14 teams to battle the Jr Stealth and BC teams.