By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/26/10
The NXT Sports Philly Showcase brought well over 500 elite boys’ and girls’ players from the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond as well as more than 100 college coaches to Philadelphia last weekend in an event that scored high among players, coaches and directors.
The Showcase expanded heavily this year; from a one-day boys’ showcase to a three-day event that included the Dan Carr Benefit (Friday at Cabrini College) and the Philly Girls’ Showcase (Sunday). The boys’ and girls’ showcases were held at Episcopal Academy.
The Dan Carr Benefit featured three games between all-stars from the Inter-Ac League and two top Philly club teams, the Duke’s L.C. and Rebel Elite. The event raised almost $4,000 for Carr, a popular Philly lacrosse supporter fighting brain cancer. The event was well-attended (more than 75 college coaches) despite 30-degree temperatures.
The Boys’ Showcase Saturday featured 335 players from 17 states and Canada. More than 100 college coaches attended. The girls’ event drew 203 players and coaches from over 20 programs.
NXT sports event co-director Andy Hayes, also the coach at Episcopal Academy, said the college coaches enjoy the format and venue. Players were put on teams for three morning games and then the top players are picked for three Gait Fab Forty All-Star Games.
Clinics also were provided for the players after the morning games. Hayes said that every girl participated.
The consensus among numerous players interviewed by Phillylacrosse.com was that the events were well-organized and highly conducive for getting exposure from college coaches.
Players also told Phillylacrosse.com that they enjoyed playing for many top coaches. Among the coaches were Phyllis Kilgour – last year’s Phillylacrosse.com Coach of the Year from two-time girls’ state champion Radnor – and Brian Samson of PA boys’ state champion Conestoga as well as the highly-regarded Troy Kemp of Tennessee powerhouse McCallie.
“I think the weekend was a huge success,” Hayes said. “Many players enjoyed the first class facilities of Episcopal Academy, got to play with players they never get to play with, learned from top high school coaches and gained valuable exposure to high level lacrosse and recruiting.”
Hayes was also pleased with the reaction to the Dan Carr Benefit.
“The Dan Carr Benefit was amazing,” he said. “We raised $3,871 for the Carr family and will be donating that money to the Dan Carr Benefit Fund later this week.
“The best part of the night was to actually see Dan and have him participate with his wife and his son Shane, who was playing for the IAC all-stars. What was even more impressive was the lacrosse that night. The kids played in 30 degree weather and played like they were in season – three great games.”
The addition of the girls’ showcase was a daunting challenge due to a major event going on in Florida. Phillylacrosse.com spoke to numerous players and coaches and received positive feedback from all involved.
Hayes credited girls’ director Jen Duckenfield.
“The girls’ event was certainly successful in its inaugural year,” he said. “Most of the success is due to Jenny.
“Her passion and dedication to girls’ lacrosse is what really made this event happen. The fact we had 22 college coaches in Year One means that the girls’ players in this area are obviously very talented and The Philly Showcase will continue to showcase high level girls’ players for years to come.”
Junior Claire Scarrone, of New Jersey power Rumson-Fair Haven, is ranked No. 22 in her class by ESPN RISE. She made the Fab Forty All-Star game along with teammate Addington Elliott and felt the event was worthwhile for many reasons.
“I thought it was awesome,” Scarrone said. “The coaches all knew what they were doing.
“It was a lot of fun. My team had lot of people from Pennsylvania and another from New York. It was good competition and the All-Star game also was really fun.”
Scarrone liked the idea of playing with new players on the fly.
“I usally do a fall tournament, but i wanted to get more playng experience and found the Philly Showcase,” she said. “I like it better this way (playing on a new team), especially with college coaches. It can convey to them your talent even mofre because you have to play with people you’ve never played with and yet you can still come together and play with a team.”
The goalies, in particular, had to learn new teammates. They were rotated from team to team. Eachl of them played for at least two teams in the morning.
“I played for two teams for two-and-a-half games,” said Mount St. Joseph sophomore goalie Alexandra Lista, who also made the Fab Forty game for sophomores and freshmen. “As a goalie, I am used to playing for a bunch of different teams on a regular basis so it was not that hard of an adjustment.”
Lista enjoyed the competition and variety of ways to get exposure.
“I knew that there were goign to be lot of college coaches,” she said,. “I got lot of time to show my talent and present myself. I left there with a feeling of saisfaction.
“I thought it was a great experience for me and I’ll take confience into future showcases.”
Hayes said there are preliminary plans to expand the Showcase next year.
“The long range plans for the Showcase are only to continue to offer a superior lacrosse experience for the players and coaches,” he said. “There is absolutely no other event like it.
“The college coaches loved the event, it is well organized, highly competitive and convenient to get to.”