It took stepping onto the fields at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla., for Julie LeGar to finally realize what was going on.
LeGar, a junior-to-be at Garrison Forest School who lives in Eldersburg, was chosen to participate in the Champion All-American Showcase July 22-24 at the Walt Disney World complex.
The event, hosted by US Lacrosse, featured four boys and four girls teams - players who received all-American honors last season were invited based on nominations from their coaches - that faced off in round-robin format before consolation and championship games were played.
LeGar, 16, was the only female player from the Class of 2014. Most of the players were either incoming high school seniors or college players. LeGar was placed on Team Pride, which had 17 college freshmen out of 32 players on its roster.
Three out of the 126 total players hailed from Maryland.
"It was such an honor to be chosen and so cool to play against the top players in the nation," said LeGar, a 5-foot-9 defender who earned all-Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland honors last spring.
LeGar said she found out about the Champion All-American Showcase nod in June and made the decision to make the Florida trip with her mother, Terry.
Once she got there, LeGar still didn't realize she was the only rising junior at the showcase until a teammate pointed it out.
"I really was so surprised," she said. "I felt like really good about myself as a player, and it was so cool to know that I was the only junior playing on the team."
LeGar plays club lacrosse for M&D (Maryland and District of Columbia) and stars on the 2014 Black team, which has won a club-record 21 tournaments dating back to 2008. The Black team won the Maryland Cup championship in July, a few weeks before LeGar traveled to Lake Buena Vista for the premier showcase event.
Team Pride went 2-2 and finished fourth, losing to Team Spirit in the bronze medal game 20-16. Team Freedom beat Team Liberty 16-13 in the championship game.
Terry LeGar said she was jittery wondering whether her daughter would hold her own when she participated in the showcase.
"I was a little nervous, but you could not tell at all when the games started," LeGar said. "She was able to hang. All the girls that we've heard about and read about, from the [national] U-19 team, were all there. It was something special."
The LeGars made the most of their trip by visiting Disney's Epcot theme park. Julie said she's getting ready for the new school year at Garrison Forest and is set to play field hockey for the Grizzlies this fall.
But she's always involved with lacrosse - she was recently named to Inside Lacrosse magazine's Watch List of top 20 rising juniors - and LeGar said she gave Maryland a verbal commitment back in the spring.
Having her college choice finalized early helped LeGar relax and play looser this summer, she said. Which made being at the showcase that much more exciting.
"It helped me improve on the quickness of the game," LeGar said. They've all been playing longer than I have, so it was good to be around them like that. It's so much easier to play, and play for fun."