Some 52 teams from Seattle to San Diego converged on tiny San Juan Capistrano, Calif., over the weekend for the California Lax Classic, combining great weather with a great atmosphere to produce an event that can only serve to keep growing the game in Southern California.
Though this event seemed built more for the U-13s and U-15s, family ties kept most of my attention on the High School Elite division, where my son’s Liv Lax club got a serious wake-up call (we hope). The six-team Elite bracket featured two strong clubs from San Diego in eventual winner RC Starz and runner-up Lax West Mission, as well as a very good Orange County team in the Golden Eagles, out of Rancho Santa Margarita, plus the LA City All-Stars, coached by Scott Hylen of Palisades Charter, and a Brady’s Bunch entry.
But the great thing about this event is that it wasn’t about the Elite teams. This wasn’t a recruiting showcase with everyone trying to audition. This was about kids learning to compete and put into play the skills and concepts they’ve been learning, a nice reward for hours of practice and league games.
This was my second trip to the tournament, held at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, and I have to say it ran even more smoothly this year than last, despite moving all games to the same venue, instead of shifting some to a nearby high school. With 52 teams in 10 brackets across four age groups — and with games running from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday — it would be very easy for things to get off track. But the event organizers kept things on schedule with well played — and tightly officiated — games that featured good lacrosse, good competition and some great uniforms.
There was plenty of camouflage in various colors, along with some solid green and orange entries from the Foothill Crush U-13s — coached by Brett Hughes and promoting his LacrosseTheNations.org nonprofit organization.
Full results and a list of teams entered can be found on the tournament’s official site. Some more pictures from the event can be found at Facebook.com/Southland.