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Philly Senior Showcase: Four players (three from PA) named top performers

Wednesday, 27th November 2013

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School, Recruiting  
 

By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/27/13

Coming from Bella Vista High near Sacramento, Calif., goalie Noah Alford indeed traveled far to play three games in frigid weather Saturday at the Philly Senior Showcase for uncommitted players.

Senior Showcase honorees

Senior Showcase honorees (from left) Ryan Cook, Noah Alford, Zach Wentzel, Chris Stone

“I was just trying to get one last look, to hopefully find a way to play collegiate lacrosse,” said Alford. “I felt like I worked hard and just did my best. I was happy to get the chance.”

Alford, along with Upper Darby attackman Chris Stone, Avon Grove attackman Ryan Cook and Hempfield defenseman Zach Wentzel were named as standout performers by NXTsports after the event. More than 50 players competed in front of about 35 collegwe coaches in the area’s final showcase of the Fall season.

“I am looking for any level to play – the school just has to have Criminal Justice because that’s my (intended) major,” said Alford. “I think I can offer a team good leadership and talking skills. I can lead the defense and makes those key stops that ultimately win games.”

Alford said the cold weather did not affect him.

“I wore flannel and the adrenaline was pumping,” he said. “I was trying to see the ball and I wasn’t focused on the cold. It didn’t bother me.”

Comments from the other three players honored:

Chris Stone, Upper Darby, attackman, Phillie Elite

What led you to compete in the Showcase and what expectations did you have?
Stone:
“I want to thank Warren Danenza, head coach at Upper Darby and helps run NXT Events, he originally prompted me to play in the showcase. The Philly Showcase, in my mind, has the best opportunity to get in front of college coaches and has been for a number of years. With that being said it is hard to turn down an offer to play a sport I love so much in front of people that want to see me continue playing it. A number of my friends, who didn’t even think about playing in college, have gone on to play in college because of this showcase. I expected to play some great uncommitted competition, and did just that. Everyone there knew that this was there last shot to come out and play in front of these coaches. I’m glad that all of the games were hard fought and extremely competitive.”

How was the competition and how do you feel you performed?
Stone:
“The competition was great, I got to play against great competition. All the games were extremely competitive and I was fortunate to play alongside some exceptional players. Originally, it was hard to get in sync with the other attackmen, however, after a couple of games we were able to find each others grooves and were able to execute on the field. I was able to put my teammates in a scoring position when I was driving from X, and in return my teammates helped me score a number of goals. All in all, the immense effort that was put forth by our team was outstanding and helped us show not only what each one of us bring to the table, but that we can work together to accomplish a common goal. On a more personal note, I was having success with feeding the crease and my backdoor cuts. As an offensive unit we were able to keep the opponent guessing and score some goals in the process.”

What are you looking for in a college and what skills do you possess that you feel can be a help to a college lax program?
Stone:
“I am looking for a suburban campus with a small or medium student body. Academically I am looking to go into the Engineering field. As an example some of the schools that I’m an considering are Widener University, Haverford College, York College, and Western New England University. I believe that my size (6’2″, 200) will help me in my college career. Also, I have had the opportunity to learn from a wide range of coaches over my lacrosse career, and I believe that experience with dealing with different personal and offensive sets put me ahead of the game. I would like to thank Todd MacFarlane, Jack Morrison, Greg Hale, Kevin Wallace, Warren Danenza, and John Banks for preparing me for my future in lacrosse. Throughout my high school career they have worked with me to improve some aspects of my game.”

What is the outlook for your 2014 season?
Stone:
“This 2014 season is going to be big. My coach, along with my teammates and I have high expectations for this upcoming year. We have a number of strong upperclassmen along with a couple of prospective underclassmen coming in. All this, along with the addition of Joe Simpson, a recent transfer from Cardinal O’Hara. Joe and I had the opportunity to play together on Saturday and it felt like clockwork. I haven’t played alongside Joe since youth lacrosse with the Raiders Organization. This resurrected chemistry will benefit us in the regular season and make Upper Darby a worthy opponent. Offensively, we carry a number of well experienced players, including Ryan Simpson, Pat Lynch and Mike Cabatingan. Defensively, We have a few returning starters such as Andrew Collins, Danny Gudmunson, and Ramon O’Brian. From an individual standpoint I will try to better my previous accomplishment of All-Delco Honorable Mention. I believe that Upper Darby will have a good, hard-fought season.”

Ryan Cook, Avon Grove, attackman, HEADstrong

What led you to compete in the Showcase and what expectations did you have?
Cook:
“As I am currently in the midst of the recruiting process, the Philly Senior Showcase provided me with a great opportunity to play in front of many college coaches. In addition to playing in front of new college coaches, it also gave me the opportunity to play for schools that I have already been in contact with.”

How was the competition and how do you feel you performed?
Cook:
“The competition was great with players coming from all over the U.S and even Canada. I was very happy with my performance and felt like I showed the coaches in attendance what I could bring to their program. I was able to show my versatility by playing a lot of midfield even though I usually play attack.”

What are you looking for in a college and what skills do you possess that you feel can be a help to a college lax program?
Cook:
“I am looking for a school with great academics and a strong lacrosse program that prepares me the most for my future. I am a fundamentally sound player that can provide consistency at my position.”

What is the outlook for your 2014 season?
Cook:
“My outlook for the 2014 season is very high. At the end of last season our team was left wanting more. This year, we hope to make a run deep into the district and state playoffs and possibly win a state championship. Individually, I hope to be an impact player who performs consistently at a high level.”

Zach Wentzel, Hwmpfield, defenseman, Low and Away

What led you to compete in the Showcase and what expectations did you have?
Wentzel:
“I had competed in the Philly showcase as a Junior and really liked the amount of exposure to college coaches at the event. I was expecting some great competition going into the Senior Showcase knowing that we would all be experienced lacrosse players.”

How was the competition and how do you feel you performed?
Wentzel:
“I was impressed with the high level of competition across the board. I felt as though I played well throughout the day. My teammates and I meshed well together, working as a team we were able to make some great plays.”

What are you looking for in a college and what skills do you possess that you feel can be a help to a college lax program?
Wentzel:
“I am very open minded when it comes to what I’m looking for in a college. I believe that I am a very coachable player, I work well with a team, and possess both offensive and defensive capabilities.”

What is the outlook for your 2014 season?
Wentzel:
“At Hempfield my coach sets three easily defined goals before each season that is to be (1) league, (2) district, and (3) state champions. Last year we were able to capture the league championship, but fell short of our other two goals. This year I believe we will have a good shot at achieving all three goals. Individually, I want to finish my senior season with a First Team All-League and All-American honor to show for it.”

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