Wednesday marked the start of Peter Worstell’s 2011 California Gold Recruiting Camp in Danville, CA, just east of Oakland. 300 kids from four different graduating classes were split over two days in Danville, CA. Having already tried out last fall, these players were raring to go in what is quickly proving to be the West’s Premier recruiting camp for wannabe college lacrosse players. Though the rosters are still dominated by California boys, this year Worstell expanded his invites to include players from Texas, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
Day One saw the classes of 2012, 2014 & 2015 appear bright and early and raring to go. Peter Worstell addressed the boys, introducing them to a few of the rules unique to his camp. My two favorites were: 1) If you don’t pass the ball, you’ll be asked to sit down and 2) Parents are not allowed to talk to the recruiters at anytime. These are two of my pet peeves about recruiting camps and Worstell handles them great. Actually, Worstell and his staff handle everything great, as I’ve never seen such an organized and smooth running lacrosse event.
California Gold is one of only two camps (Jake Reed is the other) that get totally swagged up by Nike Lacrosse, so the fashion anticipation factor was high amongst the troops. This year featured the Nike Volt Huarache 3 cleats (photo previously leaked by Sweet Sweet Lax) so everyone was feeling the love.
After some stretching and drills, players are divided up into random teams and dispersed to play games in a round-robin-one-half-at-a-time format. Rising Seniors are given their own field, and that’s where the majority of the recruiters (and I) were stationed. And what a group of recruiters it was: 21 head coaches, from 13 D1 programs, as well as top programs from D2, D3 and MCLA. And Jake Reed himself
was prowling the sidelines, prospecting for his future events. There’s not a better collection of decision makers at any camp west of the Mississippi.
The play was solid, individual talent was apparent, although the downside of a one day camp is no one ever ends up playing as a team, despite Worstell’s wishes. But the athleticism was apparent, there was plenty of field presence, and it’s clear the lacrosse knowledge is rising on the Left Coast.
Notable individual talent included: Peter Doyle a middie (St. Ignatius, CA) who was a force late in the day, singlehandedly propelling his team into the somewhat meaningless championship game. Joe Balestrieri (Rancho Bernardo, CA) went top shelf with some wicked rips with both his left and right hands in the morning sessions. Andrew Gulrajani (Bellevue, WA) looked to be the fastest middie on the field and never broke stride picking up GBs in traffic. On close defense, Michael McCarney (Dallas Jesuit, TX) was a beast with his body and Nicholas McEneany (Rancho Bernardo, CA) seemed to eat up anyone who dared to step in the box.
Worstell has built California Gold into a force in the recruiting world. He is steadfastly committed to providing the best experience for your recruiting dollars. He’s all about cost-effectiveness yet there’s never a feeling of cheapness or cutting corners. And the prized swag is second to none. The camp definitely features topnotch eyeballs on the sidelines, but there’s no history yet of prize recruits winning roster spots based on their performance there. That’s likely to change in the near future as this class of 2012 starts making commitments. There’s gold in these California hills, and Worstell seems dedicated to making sure the lacrosse world knows about it.