The Cali*Lax ALL-STARS, California’s Elite level Box Lacrosse team traveled to Everett Washington on January 28th to battle the Jr Stealth in the Midget (U16) and HS Elite Divisions. The games were played in the Comcast Arena, home of Paul Rabil and 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 U16 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 and have been on four different Canadian tours playing powerhouse 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 the game all Canadians cringe at, indoor field lacrosse , but I used everything I learned in my 12 year NLL career, 13 years in the top youth program in Canada, and 32 years playing the game to transform these field 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 away 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 the Box we have a number of our players who got into the Top 205 recruiting camp this summer for looks in the field game”.
“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. There’s currently twice as many BC players playing in the NCAA at D1 schools than California players.
“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 Tre LeClair, already on scholarship to one of Virginia’s top prep schools and whose brothers attend the Hill Academy, one of the top Varsity programs in North America. We’ve also added the Team BC Midget captain Ty Goff who’ll no doubt be following in the footsteps of Kevin Crowley, USIL’s 2011 collegiate player of the year” say Santos.
Doug Locker, the general manager of the Washington Stealth, US Lacrosse hall-of-famer and the person who started California’s D3 program Whittier in SoCal and D2 program NDNU in NorCal said this of the midget players “You’ve got something special here with these group of players, I’d personally like to work with them to get them into college programs that no doubt will want their skills”. At the helm of his college lacrosse programs, Doug Locker was the first US College coach to actively recruit Canadian Box players to his teams. Both Whittier and NDNU’s records (G,A, LB) are held by Canadian Box players.
In the stands for the event were multiple BCLA teams looking to fill rosters spots for the Box season ahead.
The Cali*Lax ALL-STARS HS-Elite program were out muscled by a very strong Jr Stealth team losing three games to one. Leading the way for the Cali*Lax ALL-STARS was All-American Logan Rooney, the Box Lacrosse Academy’s Sam Oliver and goaltender Robert Kousnetsov who earned a spot on the Ridge Meadow Burrards Intermediate ‘A’ team for the summer months.
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 on the field.”
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.
More info can be found at www.calilax.com. View more Game Photos below.