MAY 28 - MAY 30, 2017

Cardinal Stadium
Catholic University, Washington, D.C.


Tournament Bracket


  • 1 IMG Academy (FL) 26
  • GAME 1
  • 8 Christ School (NC) 9
  • 4 The Woodlands (TX) 9
  • GAME 2
  • 5 Georgetown Prep (MD) 11
  • 3 St. Sebastian's (MA) 21
  • GAME 3
  • 6 St. Anne's-Belfield (VA) 8
  • 2 The Hill (ON)11
  • GAME 4
  • 7 Lawrenceville (NJ)8


  • 1 IMG Academy (FL) 12
  • GAME 5
  • 5 Georgetown Prep (MD)13
  • 3 St. Sebastian's (MA) 10
  • GAME 6
  • 2 The Hill (ON) 12


  • 5 Georgetown Prep (MD) 6
  • GAME 7
  • 2 The Hill (ON) 12

Team Profiles

Heading into the GEICO Nationals, the Ascenders have at least 16 players committed to Division I programs. IMG Academy, like the basketball and football teams, attracts talented student-athletes globally and the lacrosse program is no different under head coach Jason Basso. The offense, which has manufactured 192 goals, features ball movement, cuts and dodges. “It’s read and react,” Basso says. Tehoka Nanticoke (Albany recruit) tops the team with 36 goals and 16 assists for 52 points. Scoring support comes from Loyola (Md.)-bound Chase Scanlan (26 goals, 16 assists), George Prince (27 goals), left-handed middie Cameron Badour (30 goals) and Percy Booth (15 goals). Christophé Coté, from Montreal and headed to Harvard, is the physical anchor. Nick Dobreff (Monmouth) and long-stick Jared Fernandez (Syracuse) are relentless on groundballs and guarding the crease. The Ascenders win 57.3% of the draws with Juan Gonzalez and freshman Drew Elder (Hofstra) the faceoff specialists.

The Ascenders (11-1) carry an 11-game win streak into the GEICO Nationals after dropping their opening game to Hill Academy (Ontario), 11-10, on March 21. However, they have defeated fellow GEICO participants St. Sebastian, 19-12, and Lawrenceville School, 11-10, for a 2-1 regular season mark against the field. The challenging schedule featured games against teams from eight states and Canada. Other quality wins were Centennial (Ga.), McCallie School (Tenn.), Rumson-Fair Haven (N.J.) and Salisbury School (Conn.).

Last summer was memorable for Tehoka Nanticoke, who left his mark at the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) U-19 Men’s World Championships in British Columbia. Nanticoke helped the Iroquois Nationals capture its third consecutive bronze medal during a 20-8 win over Australia. In that bronze medal game, he sank two goals with an assist, which capped a stellar tournament, where he was named the positional player MVP as the top attack and a spot on the tournament’s All-World Team. Nanticoke resides at Six Nations of the Grand River (near Brantford, Ontario), the only reserve in North America that has all six Iroquois nations living together.

For lacrosse purists, the Pride has a dreamful roster that is composed of at least 20 Division I recruits mostly from Canada, with three Native Americans and three from the U.S. The defense is loaded with transition-oriented talent. Close defender Jerry Staats is the foundation along with tireless captain Teddy Leggett (Lehigh commit) and super sophomore Zach Young, who already has verballed to North Carolina. Mackenzie Burke (Saint Joseph’s) and Kyle Hebert (Stony Brook) are reliable goalies. Ohio State-bound Justin Inacio (65% winning face-offs) is the midfield’s engine while juniors Carter Brand (Denver) and Mike McCannell (Stony Brook) are impactful. It’s no surprise the Pride’s attack sputtered in a loss to Culver Academy (Ind.) when the highly skilled Denver-bound Riley Curtis was sidelined with an injury. However, when Curtis and playmaker Keegan Khan (Villanova) team up, they form a matchup nightmare for opposing defense. Staats (Iroquois Nationals) and Hebert (Canada, Goalie MVP) were named to the All-World Team at the 2016 U-19 World Championships.

Although The Hill Academy is located 45 minutes north of Toronto, the Canadian school plays a schedule that exclusively is against U.S.-based team so it can remain nationally ranked and raise its profile in North America. The Pride (12-1), who only plays on the road, last saw action when it was beaten by top-ranked Culver Academy (Ind.), 4-2, on April 23. Coach Brodie Merrill’s squad has faced schools from nine states with top wins over Boys’ Latin (Md.), La Salle College (Pa.), Noble & Greenough (Mass.) and IMG Academy, who they edged, 11-10, at a neutral site in Buffalo, N.Y. A year ago, the Pride went unbeaten in 11 games and was ranked No. 1 by the media outlets and in the fall of 2015, it beat the U.S. U-19 National team. Brodie says the next step for his program is the GEICO Nationals and welcomes the elite competition.

There’s a reason why Hill Academy is so successful: The coaching staff. In the last five years, the program has taken off and playing exclusively against American competition is just part of the formula. The Canadian school’s modern era starts at the top with Brodie Merrill, the director of lacrosse/head coach. Merrill is lacrosse visionary with his patented up-tempo, transitional style of play. Merrill was a two-time All-American at Georgetown; two-time Tewaaraton Award finalist (the Heisman Trophy of college lacrosse) and the NCAA defensive player of the year in 2005. Merrill, a Canadian National team player and coach, continues to play professionally for the Boston Cannons and is considered one of the greatest players in the sport’s history—excelling at both the indoor (box lacrosse) and outdoor games.

Adam White, who is a first-year head coach, was previously defensive coordinator for three seasons under Ted Weihman. White, an All-Ivy and All-Academy Ivy at Dartmouth, inherited a talented team. The senior class is loaded with leaders and more Ivy League flavor , including middie Mikey Connolly and attackman Parker Joyce, both of whom are off to Dartmouth. Jack Frisoli (Harvard) and John Piatelli (Cornell) spice up the attack while Kenyon-bound Nicholas Connelly is a stalwart in goal as is junior Alex Gainey, a Holy Cross recruit, and Virginia-bound middie Will Plansky. The Class of 2019 features defender Peter Blake (Pennsylvania commit) and goalie Matt Fotiades (Michigan) but long-stick Will Frisoli is an elite prospect and headed to the Ivies. Will Frisoli possesses a pace and thrives in transition. The nation’s No. 2 sophomore is also considered an athletic defender and will disrupt the flow of play.

The Arrows played one of the most competitive schedules in New England and are a member of the storied Independent School League (ISL). The ISL is composed of 16 day and boarding schools in the Greater Boston area. The Arrows also play in the New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC). Just before departing for the GEICO Nationals, the Arrows played Thayer Academy on May 22. In the season opener, they lost at IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), 19-12. But that loss only motivated the Arrows, who peeled off 12 straight wins. St. Sebastian’s topped rival Governor’s Academy (Byfield, Mass.), 15-12, in a contest staged at Harvard Stadium on May 13, and nationally ranked Taft School (Conn.), 13-10, on March 24.

The all-male Catholic school established in 1941 has produced some well-known alumni. Some of the outstanding alums to have suited up on the playing fields for the Red-and-Black include Richard Pitino (men’s basketball coach at Minnesota); in hockey there are Mike Grier, Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders), Mike Morris (San Jose Sharks), Noah Hanifin (Carolina Hurricanes), Brian Boyle (Tampa Bay Lightning), Joe Hulbig (Edmonton Oilers) and Danny O’Regan (Sharks). In the political field, there’s Kevin Moley, the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva; Lawrence O’Donnell, an MSNBC host and writer/producer for NBC’s hit series The West Wing. On the screen, John Slattery, an Emmy-nominated actor, known for his role on AMC’s series Mad Men.

Head coach Keith Tintle’s team features a blend of savvy seniors and several precocious underclassmen that will keep the Highlanders in the national rankings. The defense relies on junior co-captain Jackson Shearer (committed to Air Force), senior Grant Murphy (Syracuse signee) with 70 groundballs and 17 assists, sophomore Diego Zimmerman (Ohio State) and junior long-stick Carson Daspit (Jacksonville). Jason Krosolowitz and Gunnar Luckoski share time in goal. The midfield is bolstered by juniors Jack Barron (46 goals), Quinn Binney (Army West Point) and FOGO Nathan Drickamer (who has won 155 of 262 draws for 59%) and senior Jonathan DeMary (30 goals). In the attacking end, junior Ramsey McCreary (40 goals, 23 assists), co-captain Brandon Baty (50 goals, 27 assists) and Nicholas Rauchle (43 goals) fuel the high-powered offense that has tallied 313 goals.

The Highlanders concluded the season with a gaudy 23-1 record, having defeated 18 Texas programs, four from California and one from Nevada. The lone blemish was in the THSLL Division I semifinal to eventual champions Episcopal School of Dallas, 11-8. The Highlanders surrendered three goals in each of the middle two quarters, falling behind 10-7 after three. Episcopal also topped The Woodlands, 7-4, in the Super Regionals in 2016. Quality wins this season included Dallas Jesuit, Kinkaid School Highland Park, Palo Verde (Nev.) and La Costa Canyon (Calif.).

The history of lacrosse in Texas can be traced back to two Maryland powerhouse programs playing a game at Houston’s Astrodome in 1971. When several influential Johns Hopkins alumni were transplants to Texas, they coaxed Johns Hopkins and Navy to move their annual game to Houston. Navy won 9-6 in a game that drew a then-whopping 18,000 fans, an NCAA record that stood into the 1980s. Nowadays the Texas Scholastic Lacrosse Association (TSLA) is the state’s governing body for the THSLL, which is the membership association for the boys’ high school game. In 2017, there are 93 member high school programs and over 4,000 players statewide but mostly in metropolitan areas of Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston.

The future is bright for the boys from North Bethesda, as several players have already announced decisions to play for high-powered programs. The defense is solid and capable of squeezing opponents with sophomores James Giulieri (Notre Dame) and Clay Lanham (North Carolina) the main players to keep shots away from goalie Justin Clark. The attack features several layers but the Little Hoyas have go-to players in the junior duo of Pennsylvania-bound Caleb Fernandez (30 goals, 12 assists) and John Ridgeway (19 goals, 21 assists) who has verballed to Richmond. That second layer of attack features sophomore Connor Humiston (Virginia commit), senior Jackson Luck (23 goals) and Middie Gavin Lindsay who pumped in 22 goals and is off to Georgetown in the fall. Senior defenseman John Horning (Fairfield), juniors middie Andrew Cave (Dartmouth) and James Flannery (Navy), sophomore Andrew Johnson (Dartmouth) and freshman defender Max Cooney (North Carolina) have also pledged to big-time programs.

Considered one of the nation’s premier programs, the Little Hoyas were declared National Champions following the 2003 and 2006 seasons, four times the No. 1 squad according to the Maryland State Lacrosse Coaches Association and champions of the Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC) 10 times (nine since 2003)—in the nation’s top schoolboy league. The Little Hoyas (12-5) hit a rough patch late in the season losing IAC matches to nationally ranked teams, undefeated Landon School (Md.), Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) and twice to Bullis School (Md.), including a 13-7 setback in the IAC semifinals on May 9. Quality wins include WCAC champion St. John’s College (D.C.), Loyola Academy (Ill.) and Episcopal (Va.).

In case you are unfamiliar, first-year Prep head coach Scott Urick is a rock-star in lacrosse circles. Urick, a former Georgetown All-American, most recently led the University of District of Columbia as a startup program four years ago. He also coached under his father, Dave Urick, on the Hilltop, where he was a two-year captain. Scott Urick played professionally for nine years in Major League Lacrosse (MLL) and was a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team at the World Team Championships. The Little Hoyas enjoyed success with Kevin Giblin at the helm. Giblin, who stepped down in 2014, won over 400 games and produced 36 prep All-Americans in 27 years.

Possessing one of the nation’s top group of attackmen, the Saints enter the GEICO Lacrosse Nationals understanding they can score with the best of them. Connor Shellenberger, the No. 1 player from the Class of 2019, is staying home to attend Virginia. At six feet and 185 pounds, Shellenberger has savvy dodging skills from anywhere on the field, smooth finishing skills and can play from the X or up top to set up teammates. Joe Robertson (Duke recruit) and Jack Schultz (Pennsylvania) completed the terrific troika—all of which have cleared 100 points this season. Junior goalie Jeff Perkins is smallish at 5-7, but big on saves at over 55% for the season. Middie Josh Reiss is going to Lehigh, and offensive-minded sophomores Trent Moran (Fairfield) and Emmett Barger (Notre Dame) have made early college plans and each have 20 goals this campaign.

The Saints started the season winning three straight and later enjoyed a season-best seven-game winning streak in late-March through mid-April. The fixture list featured games against teams from six states and the District of Columbia. Heading into the GEICO Lacrosse Nationals, the Saints were aiming for another Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association championship, having won seven overall titles (the last one in 2015 in Division I). Among the three regular season losses was a 16-15 setback to Norfolk Academy and the top victories were over Wando (S.C.), Briar Woods (Va.), Penn Charter (Pa.) and St. Xavier (Ky.). Even head coach Bo Perriello knows the importance of the GEICO Lacrosse Nationals. “We’re excited to have been selected for this tremendous honor. This will be a great opportunity for our student-athletes to compete at this elite level and for our school and program to be afforded a national platform.”

St. Anne’s-Belfield, non-denominational/independent boarding and day school for pre-K through 12th grade, is the merger of several strong academic oriented schools that goes back to 1856. In 1975, the St. Anne’s School (an all-female school) and Belfield (all-male) following a five-year trial the merger was cemented. The school has two campuses and operates on the honor system, and weekly Chapel services are offered. STAB has a distinguished alumni base, including songwriter and actress Schuyler Fisk (her mom is Oscar-winning actress Sissy Spacek); NFL players Chris Long (New England Patriots) and Kyle Long (Chicago Bears) and Tom Perriello, former U.S. Representative for Virginia’s 5th congressional district.

When the Big Red scores, the points are primary from attack Will Cabrera, who will attend Yale; leading scorer junior long-stick Harry Bardwell (Johns Hopkins recruit); middie Brendan Egan; and Richmond-bound Will Rice. The FOGO is junior Matt Angelo, a North Carolina recruit, who wins about 50% of the draws and keeps the possession for his teammates. The backline is secured by seniors John Whiting (Stanford) and Ben Baranker (Brown), and junior Mark Rakowski (Pennsylvania). They lend support to goalies, senior Ryan Verducci and Providence-commit Toby Burgdorf. Pair of juniors, Harrison Berke and Jake Robertson, are dependable long-stick options, as is sophomore Tommy Bavuso (Pennsylvania).

Once again head coach Allen Fitzpatrick (Class of 1973 alumnus) breeds a championship culture and a schedule to match the level of play. The Big Red most recently played in the Inter-AC League championships against the top Private Schools from Philadelphia. On May 8, Lawrenceville annexed the New Jersey Prep A State championship, defeating neighboring rival Hun School, 11-5. It was the 14th time in 15 years and the second straight year the Big Red has taken the hardware home. They also trounced Mid-Atlantic Prep League archrival The Hill School (Pa.), 18-8. They lost to IMG Academy, 11-10, on April 2 and could play the Floridians again in this event.

If you thought The Lawrenceville School is one of the nation’s giants in secondary academia, you would be correct. The coeducational college prep school opened in 1810 and sits less than 6 miles from the Princeton University campus in central New Jersey. As one of the nation’s oldest prep schools, Lawrenceville has a hallowed history. Famous alumni include former presidential press secretary Jay Carney; business executives Disney CEO Michael Eisner, former Mobil president Rawleigh Warner, Jr.; former Forbes publisher Malcolm Forbes; NBA center Joakim Noah of the New York Knicks; and musicians Huey Lewis and country and bluegrass singer and songwriter Dierks Bentley. Additionally, the world-class faculty once featured three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thornton Wilder (for plays Our Town and Skin of Our Teeth; and the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey).

The Greenies demonstrate balance in each of the sectors of the field. Up top, seniors Riley Smith (High Point signee), Will Iorio (Coast Guard Academy) and Joey Cinque (Rollins) are capable of taking over games with accurate shots and clutch goals. Junior Max Brie at long-stick midfielder and middie Hunter Vines (High Point commit) can cover the center of the park. Drexel-bound Jonah Roberts and junior Alex Byron (Furman) play close defense. Looking down the road a pair of freshman, attack Davis Lindsey and goalie Beau Hecimovich are on the radar of big programs. Lindsey has Maryland, Towson, Ohio State and Air Force interested while Hecimovich is getting feelers from Denver and High Point.

The Greenies are a week removed from winning the North Carolina Independent Schools Division I championship, on May 20. The Greenies were fearless, scheduling several games against national competition, in addition to their rigorous in-state slate. They are 4-3 against out-of-state foes, with setbacks to Centennial (Ga.), St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) and Woodberry Forest (Va.).

In 2002, head coach Jeff Miles founded the program at the all-male Episcopal boarding school located near Asheville, N.C. Under his tutelage, the Greenies have captured nine conference championships, made 11 straight playoff appearances, including seven North Carolina Independent Schools semifinals. Miles was the North Carolina Coach of the Year in 2006 and is currently 158-76-1 during a long, successful tenure in the Blue Ridge Mountains.


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Paragon Marketing Group

Paragon Marketing Group, an engagement marketing consultancy, owns and operates the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School National Tournament. We develop marketing platforms grounded in sports, entertainment, music, arts, cause and media partnerships. These platforms are created to develop engaged, sustainable relationships with our clients’ target audiences. Additionally, we are committed to creating a culture that delivers a great place to work and engenders long-term, healthy business partnerships.

Since our inception in 1995, we have grown from 3 people to over 50 marketing professionals, all of whom have a passion for sponsorship marketing. Our core competencies include sponsorship targeting/identification, evaluation, negotiation, activation, execution and measurement. Additionally, many of our clients have trusted Paragon to deliver value in the areas of event creation, mobile marketing, digital/social marketing platforms and television/digital content production.

In 2002, we secured the rights to put LeBron James, Cleveland’s then star high school basketball player, on ESPN2. Their subsequent broadcast of the game against Oak Hill Academy garnered the highest ratings ever for the channel and created a new television category — live national broadcast of high school athletics. Since then, our relationship with ESPN has grown into a strategic partnership showcasing the top high school football and basketball teams and players to a national audience each season.

To date we have partnered with ESPN to televise over 500 high school football and basketball contests featuring teams from 35 states. Games featured some of the biggest names in sports including Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, Tim Tebow, Jadeveon Clowney, Julio Jones, AJ Green and Jameis Winston.

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DICK’S Sporting Goods High School Nationals
8 boys teams and 4 girls teams compete for a postseason basketball championship with all 10 games televised live on ESPN networks






Robin Kelner: rkelner@paragonmarketing.biz


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