Zack Fixen, Chris Groel among six L.A.-area All-Americans

Chris Groel, Palisades
Junior defender Chris Groel (right) was named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American.

The Los Angeles chapter of US Lacrosse released the 2012 All-American selections for the greater L.A. area on Tuesday, and it’s no surprise that L.A. County finalists Palos Verdes and Palisades were well represented.

Palos Verdes midfielder Zack Fixen was honored for the second consecutive year, while Palisades had two players — defender Chris Groel and attack Tyler Wenker — selected and coach Scott Hylen was named Coach of the Year.

Chris Groel, Palisades
Junior defender Chris Groel (right) was named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American.


  • Chris Groel, Palisades: A junior defender who was credited with 104 ground balls and also had a goal and four assists.
  • Tyler Wenker, Palisades: A senior midfielder who scored 30 goals and had 19 assists for the Dolphins, who won the City League and advanced deep in the playoffs.
  • Dakota Randall, Mira Costa: A senior co-captain for the Mustangs, Randall led the attack for a young team that finished only 9-11 overall but qualified for the playoffs with a third-place finish in the Bay League. According to stats provided by LAS reader CostaLax22, Randall finished the season with 50 goals and 69 assists.
Zach Fixen, Palos Verdes
Maryland-bound midfielder Zack Fixen (right) was named All-American for the second year in a row.
  • Zack Fixen, Palos Verdes: Now a two-time All-American, Fixen led the Sea Wolves to the US Lacrosse Southern Section title game, scoring 64 goals and recording 30 assists.
  • Jack Vonarb, Crespi: A senior attack who also played some midfield, Vonarb scored 54 goals in leading Crespi to an 11-4 record and a playoff berth. He was named Most Valuable Player in the Mission League.
Matt Mantel, Harvard-Westlake
Goalie Matt Mantel, who at last report planned to walk on at Division I Delaware, anchored Harvard-Westlake's defense.
  • Matt Mantel, Harvard-Westlake: The senior anchored a young Wolverines team in goal, helping Harvard-Westlake to a 10-4 record and a second consecutive Mission League championship.

Academic All-American

  • Christopher O’Brien, Mira Costa
  • Graham Francis, Palos Verdes
  • Skylar Kim, Culver City

Coach of the Year

  • Scott Hylen, Palisades: Led the Dolphins to a 16-4 overall record, including three playoff wins and a berth in the L.A. County title game, where Palisades fell to Palos Verdes.

Man of the Year

  • Jerry Chabola, athletic director, Culver City HS

We’ll keep an eye out for the Orange County and Ventura County All-American selections and post when we get them.


  1. I do like that the school’s willingness to issue such a broad punishment.  Unfortunately I’m not sure it’ll have the culture change they’re hoping for.  The guys will just be more careful with their drinking and not go to other games drunk (Trevor Tierney may have a few opinions here…).  I do also wonder how the 2 game number came up after looking at their schedule.  It is a couple of conference games, but they’ll be back at full strength for the Stevens game.  Think that factored in at all?

    • if players aren’t showing up to games drunk isn’t that a change in culture? It might not fix it completely, I agree with you there 100%.

      I don’t know how the two game call was arrived at, but both Hamilton and Conn are huge games for Tufts. Maybe even bigger than Stevens since they are in conference, and two strong teams in 2013.

  2. Honestly, for me I can understand high school and college students “crossing the line” more frequently because they at least have youthful ignorance on their side. What I find really shameful and appalling is when I see parents at youth lacrosse and high school lacrosse behaving worse than their children. As a zebra I expect a little bit of heckling, but I am paid to be there and handle it professionally. For an adult to taunt, belittle and discourage a young athlete is a horrible shame.

      • I was thinking about this a little more last night…

        I agree with their mindset to speed up the game, but don’t really have an issue with the U or V too much. 

        I think the biggest thing is aligning rules so the youth and HS have to play with wider sticks (or everyone for that matter).

        I’d say if anything, just change the youth and HS rules to reflect college. One big takeaway from last night, was that the professional players definitely played a much rougher style of lacrosse than Loyola and it led to a lot of penalties. 

        I think this is because the pros are able to have so much more freedom with their pockets, so defenders are having to play a lot more like butchers and less like surgeons.

        Maybe it just comes down to making all heads a little wider.

        • I’m with you! I think what we are doing it backtracking on what we allowed manufacturers to get away with – and yes, Team USA was way more physical, and, to me, it seemed the ball came out of Loyola’s pockets easier than Team USA – maybe this is talent, or maybe not. 

          It does come down to just making the heads a little wider, but I think that involves a bigger change, at this point, overall to the industry, than just changing the stringing regulations now.

  3. First, I wouldn’t include LXM Pro in here. However, that’s my personal bias as I don’t see them as a league per se. To me, they are more of a pick up league where the two teams just play each other all the time so I’m not concerned with their rules.

    BUT TO WHAT MATTERS…my thought is, will the U basically die out? This years college freshman class will go four years using the new college rules and then some of the them will go to the MLL. Will they keep their setup they had throughout college or switch back to their old days with U’s?
    In my mind, although the MLL doesn’t have this strict rules (yet), the rules might follow into the MLL because high school players may switch to the college rules so that they are ready if they play in college and by the time they get to the MLL they are so used to the new stringing rules, the U dies.

    Lastly, I do think High school Rules are where the concern should be. The high school legal heads are quite pinched and to me, this doesn’t allow a young child to fully develop the skills needed. With that, I think the high school heads should just be gone (including MLL). The college heads aren’t that wide even.

    • Haha – fair enough on LXM PRO: I was basing it on skill level, rather than weighing in on the legitimacy of the “league” or league.

      Honestly, I think they will switch back. If this didn’t actually take away some advantage, then some people wouldn’t be in such a tizzy about it. As you know, players will do almost anything to gain an advantage, and, if a U brings that advantage, I do think, for the majority, that they would adopt the U back into their pocket, post-college. Although, I think there will be some who will become creatures of habit, until they realize that the other players around them are taking advantage of a less strict rules, and, ultimately, go back to it. Who knows though – I could be wrong.

      As for NFHS legal heads, I’m with you! Get rid of them. They are doing no justice to our youth players by allowing them to haphazardly move throughout the field without really protecting their sticks. Amen.

  4. I think you answered the question yourself in the article.  The reason why the rules are so strict at the college level as opposed to the pro level is because it is the more watched of the two.  Just like with other sports (you pointed basketball, baseball, and football) the pro level has rules that are more strict than college because they are more popular.  I know the thinking behind it may be a little backwards but it makes sense when you’re trying to keep spectators watching.  Making rules more strict allows the gameplay to be that much more competitive and keeps tension high throughout the game because one little mistake can change everything.

    After reading the other comments, I do feel that the high school rules need to change and follow those of the NCAA because it doesn’t help kids to play for X amount of years and suddenly have to change their entire skill set.  The MLL and LXM Pro will probably adopt the rules eventually, but we have to remember the MLL rules are more about fast paced high scoring games with lots of flash and the new rules would hinder that aspect of the league.

  5. Going back on why in the first place they created the rule, in my opinion was to speed up the game with more takeaways leading to more fast breaks. The reason the U isn’t being taken away in the Pros is because they have a shot clock that does speed up the game because players rush with time running out leading to a poor decision and possibly a turnover/fast break. Now, I as a stringer myself think that all levels of play should be on the X spec rules, if not wider. With the innovation in stringing in the past 5 years and the help of the internet, many kids are learning to string tight channeled pockets with a lot of hold and less whip. Specifically in a heads like a Brine voyce or a STX surgeon, it is so pinched that it is almost impossible to knock the ball out. My vote is on wider heads, and shot clocks. Or on a whole other subject, taking out subbing opportunities to bring back the two-way middie. P.S. I am the local stringer at the store in San Clemente,CA. I would love to talk to you about some things via email:

    • The rule was also created for safety, so the ball would actually come out of the stick. This is still very much a point of emphasis across all levels of sports. Regardless of a shot clock or not, the Pro rules on stringing still require defensive to basically take a guy’s arms or head off to get the ball out. I do understand your point, and, yes, the shot clock does take care of some of what the NCAA stringing rules are supposed to make happen in their gameplay.

      I agree with you on the heads too – widen them and bring more talented stick protectors back into the game.

      I’ve heard about you! I’ll shoot you an email right now! Thanks for the comment.