When stepping foot on Bryant University‘s campus for the Youth Fall Brawl, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. This is late enough into the fall where you start to expect snow on the ground, and lacrosse to be relegated indoors. But for this PrimeTime event, it shows just how much lacrosse is still left to be played. Using nearly every flat surface Bryant had to offer, the Youth Fall Brawl had games going on six different grass fields, two outdoor turf fields and one indoor fieldhouse. Given the chilly weather (there was a light frost to start the day), that fieldhouse doubled as a refuge from the autumn wind.
But, enough about the weather, on to the lacrosse! Scattered all over these fields were teams ranging from the youngest 2027 group (4th grade) through 2023 (8th grade). What makes tournaments like these great is that it is all about learning, coaching and playing. There was no mention of recruiting, the high stress win-at-all-cost mentality or being seen by colleges. Having the separate youth tournament means that the players are able to just focus on learning the game, getting better against the best competition in the area and just enjoy playing.
While the 2027 group is much heavier on the latter portion of those objectives, as you work your way up through the ranks, there is some real lacrosse being played. The one team that really stood out to me at the Youth Fall Brawl was the RI Bulldogs, sporting their bright green and black uniforms. This group wound up winning the 2024 and 2025 divisions rather decisively. Their execution is what really jumped out at me, though. They were doing the little things right. Finding open space off-ball, showing help and approaching ground balls correctly. It was the type of stuff that you hope high school and college teams do well consistently, and here was a group of sixth and seventh graders doing it all.
It actually wasn’t until a few days later that this observation made a lot more sense. It was that week which the 2019 U13 ranking were released for the World Series of Youth Lacrosse. These RI Bulldogs teams fit squarely in that age bracket. While they did not top the list, they were named to the watchlist, which is honestly quite a feat given the volume of teams considered. They are one of only three New England teams even mentioned, both others being in Connecticut. I would not be surprised to see them climb up in the standings as the year goes on.
There was an event that took place in the 2026 division that was also a bit of a feel good story. Tournaments like the Youth Fall Brawl are all about the club teams. I did mention earlier that these are teaching moments and times to learn, but you are still doing that within the club setting. While they may not all have had tryouts, it’s assumed there is some sort of screening process applied and you are getting a team of pretty dedicated players no matter what. Working within those boundaries means you can expect a certain level of play from each team.
So, who won the 2026 division? A town team, that’s who. It was actually a Massachusetts youth team from Winchester, Massachusetts that took home the medals and the banner for that age group. For the many, many people out there who still beat the drum of supporting the town-based teams, this should help provide at least some level of validation. This model is still strong and can produce teams which can play at the same level as clubs in the area.
As the day wrapped up, the champions were continually crowned. There was not a single team that won their division who did not relish in taking home one of the medals and posing in front of their championship banner. It was a cold, fall day, but everyone was still enjoying every minute of it and was competing hard. And that it was it is all about.
Youth Fall Brawl Division Winners
2023: ‘Necks Orange (Top Gun MA)
2023A: ‘Necks Green (Top Gun MA)
2024: RI Bulldogs
2025: RI Bulldogs
2025A: NS Snipers (MA)
2026: Winchester Sachems
2027: NS Snipers (MA)
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