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Making The Team: The USIL Combine Blog Day 1

usa lax2After a full day of travel, JR Oreskovich got to PA, met up with a long-time friend and got his mind right for the upcoming indoor lacrosse combine.  Below you can find the first day recap which includes a breakdown of top speed and strength testers (where JR did very well it seems!).  After that, there was more running, some playing (which included a lot more running) and then more running.

Sounds like a tough intro to box lacrosse but also an awesome experience.  If I were 10 lbs lighter, 5 years younger and a much better overall player I would want to give it a shot too!  So, enough of this never-was’ hot air and back to JR’s take on things…

Day One: The Departure

by JR Oreskovich

7:28 am

I just woke up and am eating a small breakfast and checking out the Phelps School in the daylight on my way out the door.

8:25 am

The facility is located at 63 Concord Street and the gps just got me here. Although, true to form, it is the wrong 63 concord street and the iphone is telling me to turn around and drive a couple miles in the opposite direction. I am trying not to be late on the first day.

8:40 am

Check in. This facility is big. There are two turf box fields and then a hockey rink with a rubber floor or something. We are given one of three color jerseys and a white card with our name and jersey number on it. When I start walking around, I see a few familiar faces from the MLL combine and tournaments I have played the last few years. There are a good number of players, I would say 50-60. Everybody seems focused and ready to earn their way. The crowd is a good blend of players from all around. There are some d3 guys, a couple d2 guys, a lot of recent standouts at the ncaa level, some local box players, and even a good contingency of Canadian junior players.

9:14 am

We move through a short warm-up as a group and then have the drills explained to us. We will be running a 40 yard dash, throwing a medicine ball, running a t-drill and finishing with the Illinois agility. We are broken up by our team color. There is red, blue, and black. Two attempts in each drill and then you move onto the next one. People are practicing their sprint starts and their med ball throws to get every advantage possible. Me, I just like to get my legs under me and then concentrate on keeping my focus for the short amount of time that each test takes. Anything more than that, and I start over thinking this stuff. From what I hear, forties are hovering around 4.9sec which was the benchmark given to us before hand.

Mismatch? but for whom? Steenhuis, obviously.
Mismatch? but for whom? Steenhuis, obviously.

12:00 pm

We get a break for lunch which consists of a salad, a sandwich or wrap, and some electrolyte tablets from hammer sports. The scores of the tests were just posted and everybody is trying to see where they stand compared to the others. Scores are averaged so both attempts are important. The winners are highlighted and are as follows (scores might be rounded to the inch or the hundredth of a second):

40 Yard dash: 1. Dave McCarthy, 2. Patrick Kablis, Josh Porcell, J.R. Oreskovich (Times were in the 4.71-4.82 range)

T-drill: 1. J.R. Oreskovich, 2. Michael Blocho, Casey O’Rourke, Greg Vetter, Jeremy Seivarts. (times were in the 8.8-9.5 range)

Illinoois Agility: 1. Michael Blocho, 2. Patrick Kablis, Josh Porcell, Greg Vetter, J.R. Oreskovich (Times were between 15.2 and 15.5 seconds)

Med Ball Toss: 1. Davis beau, 2. Ryan Zordani, Andrew Price, Joe Aquilina, Donald Francis (Tosses were between 21’4”-22’6” ft)

how is JR adjusting to the indoor game?
How is JR adjusting to the indoor game?

12:35 pm

By now everybody is eating and finding out about each other (where they play(ed), how much box experience they have, how far the drive was, etc) and the Canadians are convinced that the sport we play is not lacrosse. The keep up with letting us know that the US has too many laws and weak beer, but are wondering how much faster than the speed limit is acceptable before getting pulled over. After lunch we will get into stick drills. Up on the schedule is shooting, 1v1, 2v2, 5v5, and some scrimmaging if we are lucky.

4:00 pm

These guys cleverly disguised sprints into “transition drills” and like me, everybody bought into them. After playing for the last 3.5 hours, everybody is exhausted. All of our drills were very physical and because of the limited number of left-handers, our group of lefties ended up going about twice as often as the righties. After realizing that 8 hours of running has taken its toll on us, most everyone just want to get out of the TSS (Tri-State Sports complex) and home. Some people are staying at hotels nearby, while others are driving in from Baltimore or Annapolis. There are a few people including myself that either live nearby or are staying with a friend that does. I am off to a good meal and possibly a cold beverage at the outback in Malvern after showering up at the Phelps School.

LAS will be back tomorrow with the third and final installment of JR Oreskovich’s insider look at the USIL combine. Thanks JR!