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The Pacers go 5-5 against national-level powerhouses in Baltimore and Boston.

COURTESY PHOTO - Lakeridge midfielder Preston Stewart speeds upfield during play in the National High School Lacrosse Showcase in Baltimore, Maryland, July 15-16.If you're a lacrosse player and you want to showcase your talents, there's no place better to do it than at the National High School Lacrosse Showcase and the New England Lacrosse Showcase.

So that's just what the Lakeridge boys lacrosse team did. Both tournaments — the National Showcase was held in Baltimore, Maryland, July 15-16, and the New England Showcase near Boston, Massachusetts, July 19-20 — were invitationals for teams representing individual high schools (not club teams).

"I am extremely pleased with the results of the trip, both on the field and off," said Lakeridge coach Curt Sheinin, whose team went 5-5 against top-level competition in the two events (the Pacers previously won the de facto Oregon high school state championship in the spring of 2021). "With the exception of our first game … in Baltimore against Archbishop Spalding — a team ranked as high as no. 3 nationally — we were competitive in every game."

The Pacers opened their two weeks of showcase performances with a less-than-stellar loss to Archbishop Spalding, but after that, the team's other four losses came by a combined seven goals. Sheinin admitted that his team was not 100% ready to play early in its first morning in Baltimore, but noted that Spalding went on to go 6-0 and easily win the NHSLS, at least doubling the score of every team they played.

Lakeridge came back to win its next two games in 90-degree temperatures the same day, then added a fourth contest against New Jersey's Mountain Lakes High School. Mountain Lakes, a perennial power playing its first game of the day against the tired and shorthanded Pacers, eventually won by a single goal.

"They were fresh, and even though we were exhausted from playing three games prior and being shorthanded on defense, the game was physical and hard fought," Sheinin said. "(It was) a tremendous effort from our players."

On the first day of the NELS, Lakeridge won its first two contests before falling short to Delbarton High School, another national power from New Jersey that had eight Division I commits on the field.

The Lakeridge roster included: Ethan Bernhardt, Benjamin Brazil, Ryan Carpenter, Ty Cowie, Jackson Darcy, Brooks Dennett, Jack Gales, Benjamin Glover, Wilson Godfrey, Walker Godfrey, Andre Gohier, J.D. Henninger, Cooper Keesee, Nolan Lawler, Charlie Mitchell, Andrew Nyhus, Jake Reichle, Henry Ryan, Jack Scates, Gavin Sheehan, Preston Stewart, Zac Waible, Tyler Williams and Matthew Wright. Waible and Scates did not play in Baltimore, but joined the team in Boston.

In retrospect, Sheinin said the tournament showed that the Pacers can compete against top teams in a challenging environment, saw every player step up their game and not back down, added to team growth and visibility.

"Our players enjoyed the trip, and it was a great learning experience for them and our coaches," Sheinin added. "Our success this summer should provide the building blocks for next season."

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