Once again taking place at the Del Mar Polo Fields just north of San Diego, Adrenaline hosted a perennial favorite for recruiters with their Challenge weekend, adding the Winter Showcase on Friday morning to highlight 80 individuals looking to get a few extra looks. The weekend has a lacrosse festival type of atmosphere that speaks volumes about the West’s passion for the sport, showcasing elementary-level players all the way up to high school seniors.
Due to the rules with the recruiting calendar, Division I schools are unable to attend, so it’s a great opportunity for players to be seen by Division III schools plus a high volume of DII and MCLA programs. With this tournament, I made my best effort to focus on evaluating upperclassmen (many of whom I’d be watching for the last time before they graduate) rather than younger guys. Of course, there were plenty of prospects who have been written up here on RR plenty over the last few months, so I tried to focus more on the more unfamiliar names. Here’s who caught my eye:
Devin Spencer ’16, A, Blue Chip National / Monte Vista (Calif.)
To start, it’s easily apparent that Spencer is a coach’s son, as his father, Ted, was the head coach at Fairfield for over a decade and leads the Blue Chip National squad. Devin was fantastic throughout the weekend, dazzling with his consistency, shooting stroke and ability to let the game come to him without ever forcing anything. He’s slick off-ball with some excellent cuts to put himself in position to score, nailing the tying and overtime goals to upset RC in the semifinals. Based on what I can tell, Spencer’s headed for a bright future at UMass.
Sam Handley ’18, A, Oregon Pride / Jesuit (Ore.)
There’s a lot to appreciate about Handley’s game. Not only does he have a strong 6’3 frame, but he’s particularly two-handed and most impressively, appears to be improving rapidly. The Penn-bound playmaker uses his body well to get to the island and can make things happen in a number of ways. Defenses tried to key in on him but he’s hard to game-plan against and is so good off the re-dodge, so it was pretty difficult to stop him. Definitely someone I’m looking forward to watching between now and the time he hits college.
Scott Phillips ’17, LSM, LA Heat / Palos Verdes (Calif.)
This Bryant pledge raised his stock in my book, thriving with his ability to throw nasty, turnover-causing checks that boosted his team. While undersized, Phillips seems to play with a chip on his shoulder and made every LSM run count. He didn’t get out of position and he showed physicality, extremely quick feet and crucial play on the wings.
Jerrin Cutler ’17, M, Utah Prime / Fremont (Ut.)
A creative, blue-collar type of midfielder, Cutler was a pleasure to evaluate during Utah Prime’s run to the championship game. Though there were parts about his game that were raw, he was steady, caught everything and finished in style. In addition, Cutler can dabble down at attack but also make invisible plays as a middie that caught the attention from a number of recruiters at the Challenge.
Tristan Wright ’17, G, Booth / Galena (Nev.)
A Denver verbal (believed to be northern Nevada’s first recruited laxer bound for D1), Wright made a strong first impression on me. He’s an intimidating presence who hugs the pipes to shut the door on low-angle shots but also did a phenomenal job stepping to the ball to stuff anything that came his way on the doorstep. Out of the cage, he was an aggressive athlete charging upfield with the ball in his stick and ran all breaks effectively. It wasn’t always pretty, but it doesn’t really matter when you’re as skilled and athletic as Wright.
Beau Botkiss ’16, LSM/D, RC Elite / Torrey Pines (Calif.)
As a freshman and sophomore, Botkiss played like a senior. Now that he’s close to wrapping up his HS career, the Harvard commit is playing at an extremely high level, disrupting opponents between the lines with an unmatched intensity. In the semifinal, he put up a hat trick (reportedly finishing with eight goals on the weekend), which shows what he’s capable of in transition. There’s no doubt that he’s slated for a successful tenure in Cambridge.
Mac Mowat ’17, G, Seattle Starz / Bellevue (Wash.)
Mowat was lights out whenever I watched him, dazzling with some eye-popping point blank saves in tight by reading his opponent’s eyes and matching sticks all the way. He made saves in bunches and at key moments for his team, which is obviously a pivotal factor for goalies. When clearing the ball, Mowat was extremely effective. I think he’d be an excellent high-DIII keeper, though I’d also imagine that the kid would be a great addition for a plethora of Division I programs in need of a keeper.
Lucas Pederson ’17, D, Seattle Starz / Bainbridge Island (Wash.)
Pederson was one of my favorite defensemen at the event. A takeaway-minded cover man, the Fairfield commit uses his stick in a surgical fashion to routinely steal the lunch money of opposing attackmen. He clamps down, approaches well and sets up great position, putting the ball on the ground and quickly corralling the groundball to get it upfield. Once he works on his speed and stick skills, Pederson has the makings of an elite college defender for the Stags under Andy Copelan.
JoJo Biddle ’16, A, RC Silver / Pacific Ridge (Calif.)
Ranked as the No. 97 player in the class, I’ve been blown away by Biddle’s play over the last six months or so, as he appears to be the most unguardable offensive player in San Diego. The lefty is known for his explosiveness, turning the corner impeccably and often performing his patented no-look shot. Beyond that, Biddle is all over groundballs and rides like a demon.
Anthony DeMaio ’16, A/M, Blue Chip National / Coronado (Calif.)
The fact that DeMaio tallied an overtime game-winner (and tying goal, if I’m not mistaken) tells you that he’s best in clutch situations, which he showed last spring with Coronado. With Blue Chip, he frequently ran out of the box and presented matchup problems because the kid is difficult to cover with a shortstick. Headed to Boston U, he’s a flashy, steady and intelligent playmaker whose game will only continue to improve.
OTHERS WHO IMPRESSED
Pierce Mazcko ’16, LSM/D, Alpha / La Costa Canyon (Calif.)
Crew Taylor ’16, D, Alpha / La Costa Canyon (Calif.)
Duncan Copeland ’16, M, Animals / Rancho Bernardo (Calif.) – OWU
Nate Welcomer ’17, G, Blue Chip National / Agoura (Calif.) – COLGATE
Max Rieser ’16, M, Blue Chip National / Avon Old Farms (Conn.)
Jack Hutchinson ’17, M, Blue Chip National / Choate (Conn.)
Spencer Carlson ’17, D, Blue Chip National / Granite Bay (Calif.) – ALBANY
Jack Hewitt ’17, M, Booth / Oak Ridge (Calif.)
Kannah Cruikshank ’17, M, Booth / Campolindo (Calif.)
Joe Thuer ’17, G, LA Heat / Loyola Los Angeles (Calif.)
Nate McPeak ’17, G, LaxDawgs / Coronado (Calif.)
Isaac Bot ’17, M, Mustang Starz / Calgary (Alb.) – UMASS LOWELL
Myles Hamm ’17, M, Mustang Starz / Westminster (Conn.) – HARVARD
Zane Sands ’18, D, Oregon Pride / Sherwood (Ore.)
Aaron Park ’18, G, Oregon Pride / Lakeridge (Ore.)
Owen Grubbe ’18, M, Oregon Pride / Sherwood (Ore.)
Emmett Jones ’18, D, Oregon Pride / Lakeridge (Ore.) – MICHIGAN
Ara Suhadolnik ’16, M, RC Silver / Torrey Pines (Calif.)
Isaiah Dawson ’18, M, RC Silver / Bishop’s (Calif.) – HARVARD
Will Howard ’16, G, RC Silver / Cathedral Catholic (Calif.)
Ryan Ramirez ’18, M, RC Carolina / Torrey Pines (Calif.)
Tucker Dordevic ’17, A/M, Rhino / Edison (Ore.) – DELAWARE
Zach Shelton ’17, A, Rhino / Wilsonville (Ore.)
Dawson Loehner ’17, D, Rhino / West Linn (Ore.) – HIGH POINT
Donovan Bekoy ’16, A, Rippers Elite / Beaverton (Ore.) – FONTBONNE
Quinault Mackey ’17, A, Seattle Starz / Sumner (Wash.)
Will Carson ’18, D, Seattle Starz /
Cole Daninger ’18, M, Seattle Starz / O’Dea (Wash.)
Jack Sercu ’18, A, Seattle Starz / Eastside Catholic (Wash.)
Nick Shanks ’16, M, SoCal Express / – TUFTS
Taylor Dankenbring ’17, D, Steelhead /
Colton Lidstone ’17, M, Team BC / Claremont (B.C.)
Connor Evers ’17, D, Team BC / Pitt Meadows (B.C.)
Jackson Burton ’16, F/O, Utah Prime / Park City (Ut.) – YALE
Bubba Fairman ’16, A, Utah Prime / Brighton (Ut.) – MARYLAND
Josh Stout ’16, A, Utah Prime / Lone Peak (Ut.) – WESTMINSTER
Bryson Taylor ’16, D, Utah Prime / Brighton (Ut.) – OWU
Sean Edwards ’16, G, Utah Prime / Juan Diego Catholic (Ut.) – WESTMINSTER