Editor’s Note: Please welcome Anthoy Crimmins and StickStarLacrosse.com to LAS! Anthony and StickStar will be writing about High School, College, and youth lacrosse in the great state of Texas this year, and kicks things off with a killer Texas HS preview!
As January comes to a close deep in the heart of Texas, lacrosse season is starting to percolate. While many back east are digging out from the latest nor’easter, the forecast for the Great State is 60s across the board. Down south, the first weekend of scrimmages and games have taken place, while the customary, preseason tourneys are up next.
Lacrosse in the State of Texas is in a great spot. The level of play statewide continues to improve, and the depth of quality talent compounds daily. We concede that Texas is not a hotbed, but we will go ahead and coin the term, lukewarm bed. There is serious talent in this state as well as consistent matriculation.
The top high school and select teams in the area compete at a high level nationally and do well.
At this point, almost every team has at least a couple of dominant players, and the depth on the top squads usually has several college commits. Players from Texas are currently at the following D1 programs: Duke, Syracuse, Maryland, Princeton, Hofstra, Yale, Cornell, High Point, Brown, Dartmouth, Binghamton, Air Force Academy, Colgate, Providence, Rutgers, Jacksonville, Quinnipiac, Fairfield, Hopkins, Harvard, and Michigan. Not to mention all of the countless players who have found their homes at the D2, D3, and MCLA levels.
Even Texas is a part of the underclassmen-recruiting trend which is sweeping the nation. When you have sophomores committed, you know you are a lukewarm bed. These two players will be big factors for their respective squads the next 3 seasons:
Sam Romano – ESD ’15 – Midfield – Syracuse
Case Carpenter – Highland Park ’15 – LSM – UNC
2013 Regular Season: For those of you not accustomed with the Texas hierarchy, the StickStar 2013 Top 10 Pre-Season Rankings for the State follow:
3.) Highland Park
4.) St. Mark’s
5.) The Woodlands
7.) Plano West
8.) Houston Christian
9.) St. John’s
Dallas (North District)
Dallas is especially interesting from a viewing standpoint in 2013. There is a bit of parity within the squads that has been lacking the last few years.
Jesuit is the early favorite with 7 committed seniors. These current seniors have made it to the THSLL Final Four the last three years, and they are undoubtedly hungry to bring Jesuit its first-ever State Championship. Highland Park is following up a tremendous 2012 campaign where the Scots swept the D1 & D2 State Championships. The Scots are deep, and it is hard to pick against them. They have won the title three of the last four years. That is a dynasty.
ESD is, however, another solid contender. Also registering 7 committed players, the Eagles look to improve upon an impressive first year under new head coach Patrick Kennedy. St. Mark’s rounds out the top four with a talented senior defense. If the defensive unit led by Bear Goldstein (Princeton) and Justin Harvey (Dartmouth) can shut down opposing offenses, the Lions have a real chance to capture their first elusive state championship. Coppell and Plano West round out the group with talented offensive players and defensive players alike. Depth is the key ingredient that sets apart the top four from the rest.
Austin – Houston (Central & South Districts)
The most talented squad in the southern district is the Woodlands near Houston. Under first-year coaches Keith Tintle and Al Christopher, the Highlanders are in good hands. A young, talented, explosive squad, the Woodlands might make some noise as long as they stay healthy. The best team out of Austin is undoubtedly the Westlake Chaps. The Chaps made their deepest playoff run in 2012 just missing the final four. The Chaps are once again talented and could factor into the state championship discussion once the playoff race begins.
The next couple of weeks will be great, as the upcoming preseason tournaments should have most of the best squads competing. Everyone sounds good on paper, but it is all about the sight test. With relative parity in the league, the preseason tourneys should add some clarity to the State Championship equation. We are looking forward to the best year of lacrosse in the Great State! We will keep you with this upcoming schedule of posts:
Week of Feb. 4 – Upcoming Season in Texas
Week of Feb. 18 – Pre-Season Tournament Recaps (Jesuit / Mudslinger)
Week of Mar. 4 – Patriot Cup Weekend
Week of Mar. 18 – Texas United Seminars
Week of April 1 – UT vs. TX State
Week of April 15 – Home Stretch (SPC Tourney)
Week of April 29 – Final 4 Breakdown (Regional Weekend)
Week of May 6th – THSLL Championships.
For more from StickStarLacrosse.com, check out the following posts: