This is part of a continuing series counting down the top Philly lacrosse stories of 2009
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/18/10
In the past, Philadelphia lacrosse players always had to leave the area to compete in recruiting tournaments and showcases.
But in 2009, two major boys’ events helped put Philly lacrosse players in the spotlight in their own backyard.
The first event was the inaugural Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association (EPSLA) Showcase, held just after the end the scholastic season in June at Haverford College. The event drew 47 college coaches – mostly from top Division I programs – as the event put on two All-Star Games of top Philly sophomores and juniors from the public and private schools.
In that event, the players tried out in hopes of making the all-star teams (88 players in all) in an open setting. Reaction was so positive following the event that EPSLA incoming President Andy Hayes (Episcopal Academy head coach) also began developing the framework for the inaugural Philly Lacrosse Showcase.
That event was held the Saturday before Thanksgiving at EA’s new complex in Newtown Township. In this event, 320 players from the Philly region and beyond (open registration format) competed in morning games in hopes of being selected for the afternoon “Fab Forty” All-Star Games for Rising Sophomore, Juniors and Seniors.
A throng of 119 college coaches attended the event, which drew several thousand people. The event received national media recognition, and Hayes has tentatively planned to keep a similar format for next year’s event.
Hayes also said that tentative plans are for the EPSLA Showcase to be held this year at Penn’s Franklin Field, on Thursday, June 17 with the tryouts being on Sunday, June 13 at EA.
The EPSLA Showcase was developed by officials of the EPSLA in hopes of giving underclassmen a chance to get the best exposure possible in front of college coaches. The EPSLA used to run a post-season tournament that drew from every league in Southeastern Pennsylvania, but beginning in 2009 the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) sanctioned the state tournament.
In the Sophomore All-Star Game, Joey Sankey (Penn Charter) and Shane Morrell (Episcopal Academy) each scored four goals to lead the Private stars to a 12-9 victory. The Public squad took the Junior game, 16-10, as Shane Sturgis (Downingtown East) notched five goals to offset a five-goal effort by Stephen Aitken (Haverford School) of the Private stars.