By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/10/14
More than 100 middle school players were aiming high this week.
Seventh and eighth-graders finished two days of tryouts for the Middle School All-Star games Thursday at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken as NXTsports concluded a special event to pick Pennsylvania teams to compete against New Jersey in the Nov. 14 Charity Showdown at Citizens Bank Park.
The PA rosters for both the 7th and 8th-grade teams will be announced today or Monday by NXT Showcase Lacrosse Director Brett Manney, who oversaw the tryouts Monday and Thursday and will also run New Jersey tryouts Wednesday (6-8 p.m.) and Thursday night (6:30-8 p.m.) at the Lawrenceville School.
The All-Star Games will be held before four games between elite club teams Nov. 14 at CBP in a much-anticipated event that will benefit the Comprehensive Concussion Center at Thomas Jefferson Hospital.
Will Hurley, an LSM from Manhiem Township and Duke’s L.C. said it was well worth traveling several hours to compete for an All-Star spot.
“My coach told me it would be a great opportunity for me and I came out and a had a good time,” he said. “There were a lot of good kids here, but I think I did pretty well, especially with my clears.
“I’ve gone to a lot of Phillies games. It would be a great experience to play there. It’s a great cause – concussions are a big deal and lot of kids are getting them more often. It’s just a great opportunity for me.”
Manney said the idea to bring middle school players into the two-week Philly Showcase event was made to spread the word on the cause and to expose younger players to the spotlight.
“I think we wanted to give the oppotrnity to more kids than excellent high school players,” he said. “To combined the best middle school kids from Pennsylvania and New jersey is a no-brainer. All the proceeds (for the Charity Showdown) go to Thomas Jefferson Concussion Center and this gets more people aware of the Philly Charity Showdown and the cause. Then have that talent on both sides of the river is icing on the cake.
“The competition was fantastic. To see kids come from here and far and come to practice both nights is a testament to this area. It was pretty remarkable to see so many talented kids on the field at one time.”
Holicong Middle School face-off specialist Jack Henderson (NXT L.C.), who dominated at the X, also felt the chance to play at CBP was a draw.
“I came out here for the experience to play in the stadium,” he said. “I expected good players and I feel I played well. Last year I went there (CBP) on a field trip and they didn’t even let us touch the grass. It would be pretty exciting to be able to play on that field.”