High school lacrosse standouts like McDonogh's Brinton Valis are usually playing for their respective club teams during the summer months.
This weekend, however, the rising senior and many other players have a unique opportunity.
The inaugural National High School Lacrosse Showcase, featuring more than 20 of the top high school boys teams in the country, will take place Friday through Sunday at the Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center in Parkton. The three-day tournament will feature some of the Baltimore area's top teams, as well as squads from seven other states and Washington, D.C.
Each team will play four games in the first round starting Friday morning, with the top eight advancing to the quarterfinal round Saturday night. The semifinals will take place Sunday morning, with the championship game scheduled for 1:25 p.m.
For local teams like Boys' Latin, Calvert Hall, Gilman, McDonogh and St. Paul's, it's an offseason chance to see how they stack up with some of the elite programs in the country. Culver Academies (Ind.), Summit (N.J.), Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), Chaminade (N.Y.), Gonzaga (D.C.) and Paul VI (Va.) are among the out-of-state high schools in the event.
"It's a completely different dynamic [from playing club lacrosse]," said Valis, an All-Metro second-team midfielder who has committed to John Hopkins. "This is the cream of the crop as far as some of the top high school teams, and when you're putting on the McDonogh jersey, you want to represent the school well."
The idea of having a summer tournament solely featuring high school teams had been discussed on numerous occasions over the years, and it has finally come to fruition. Boys' Latin coach Bob Shriver and McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner, the tournament directors, are largely responsible for organizing the event.
"The mission statement we have is putting together a lot of the traditionally good high school programs from around the country who would normally not get the opportunity to play against each other," Shriver said. "As a result, you'll see a lot of different areas playing with different styles and skill sets all in one place."
Plenty of college coaches from all divisions have shown interest in attending, giving them a chance to see potential recruits working with their high school coaches and teammates.
"It's good to see there are some tournaments and camps that allow high school teams to play together. It's a great opportunity to evaluate kids in a different environment," Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. "There may be some kids that don't necessarily flourish in an all-star environment, but with their team and specific role, they may flourish."
Valis, who finished his third season on varsity in the spring, gets an early taste of being a team leader.
"It will be something new for me," he said. "It'll be my first chance to step up as a leader of the squad, and hopefully I can fill the role of some of the great seniors we had last year. It's my time to take over the reins, to start getting the team to where it needs to be to win in the [Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association] next year. So it will be a great checkpoint to see how we can do and how I can lead the team."
If you go
When: Friday through Sunday
Where: Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center, Parkton
More information: nhsls.comCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun