Sand Storm Lacrosse Festival Caps Winter Season in SoCal


The spring lacrosse season is in sight, but there’s still one more winter tournament, an event that seems to keep growing every year — Sand Storm.

Sand Storm Lacrosse Festival
More than 200 lacrosse teams will descend on the Empire Polo Club in Palm Desert this weekend. (Photo courtesy Liv Lax)

The Sand Storm Lacrosse Festival takes place this weekend in Palm Desert, featuring close to 90 boys teams in divisions ranging from Grades 3/4 up to Elite. The Sandstorm girls tournament takes place simultaneously, also at the Empire Polo Grounds in Palm Desert, featuring close to 120 more teams acrosse seven age divisions.

Suffice it to say, Southern California lacrosse teams and players will be well represented, although there also are teams from as far away as British Columbia, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Utah … well, you get the point.

Since there are far too many Southland area clubs represented in both tournaments — and since there’s no good way to get a handle on who’s who in winter ball — I focused only on the boys’ elite lineup, trying to get a handle on who the teams are, what high schools or clubs they represent and be able to provide some sense of what to expect at the event’s highest level.

But don’t overlook the other boys brackets at all age levels. The list of teams reads like a who’s-who of LA-area clubs, including Leverage, Liv Lax, LA All-City, LA Mavericks, Shooterz, Silverfin, Team Panos, Temecula Tomahawks and Valley Kings, in addition to those listed below.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the 14 Boys Elite Division entries, courtesy a couple hours with my good friend Mr. Google:

Escena Bracket
AZ Burn Elite: Out of the Phoenix area, the Burn are under the direction of Arizona State coach Chris Malone and his staff. A Starz program, the Burn Elite recently went 2-3 at the Adrenaline Challenge.

Beach Head: Out of the South Bay and under the direction of Lane Jaffe, former Palos Verdes HS coach, interim coach at UC Santa Barbara and assistant at Dominican University.

DH Lions: Made up of players from JSerra Catholic HS in San Juan Capistrano, and coached by former Johns Hopkins star Kyle Harrison, the Lions won the U19 Division at the Palm Desert Lacrosse Classic (PDLC) last November.

Golden Gate Gold: Based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, though it appears there’s a heavy East-bay lean, with practices in the Orinda and Lafayette areas.

Hooligan Lacrosse: Based out of Huntington Beach, the club’s Facebook profile describes Hooligan as “a traveling club lacrosse team consisting of some of the best high school lacrosse players Orange County & the South Bay has to offer.”

Navigators: This is the high-school arm of Landsharks Lacrosse out of Newport Mesa.

Vista Mirage Bracket
Blue Chip NorCal-East Bay 11/12: This appears to be the same team that recently went 3-1 in pool play at the Adrenaline Challenge before falling to the OC Kings in the elimination round while under the direction of Ted Spencer, former Fairfield coach and director of the Blue Chip 225 camp. The roster is made up of players from East Bay high schools such as De La Salle and Monte Vista.

Brady’s Bunch Elite: Winners of last year’s Sandstorm Elite division, Brady’s Bunch features an all-star roster of players from as many as 10 different states and Canada.

Golden Eagles Elite: Made up primarily of players from Santa Margarita Catholic HS and coached by SMHS head coach Brad Reppert.

Kings Lax Blue: Representing the Newport Beach Surf Dawgs, Kings Lax Blue is made up primarily of varsity players from defending CIF Southern Section champion Corona del Mar.

Mission Red: Run by Michael Watson’s Lax West organization, the Mission club is based out of the San Diego/Del Mar area, with Cathedral Catholic HS as something of a home base.

Propel Lacrosse Elite: Another San Diego-based team, Propel’s Elite program is based out of Poway High School.

Rhino Orangemen: One of the few elite teams to travel from out of state, the Orangemen are the U-18 select roster of Rhino Lacrosse of Portland, Ore., a club founded by former Syracuse star Ryan Powell.

West Coast FCA Orange: Based out of San Juan Capistrano, FCA West Coast is part of the larger FCA Lacrosse organization based in Maryland. The FCA West Coast site has little information about current teams, but it appears the team previously has featured players from Orange County schools such as Foothill, JSerra, San Clemente and Tesoro.