Eight of the top Midwest high school men’s lacrosse programs have joined forces to create the Midwest Lacrosse Challenge. The teams will compete in regular season games against each other during March and April and then meet for an 8-team, seeded playoff on May 5-7, 2017 at New Trier High in Winnetka, Illinois.
“We are also very fortunate to have this group of programs and this group of coaches come together to create the Midwest Lacrosse Challenge,” said Mike Cappelletti, head coach at Detroit Country Day School , and co- President of the league. “Within our region, you will be hard pressed to find a better assembly of programs with rich tradition, up-and-coming talent, and sustained success. These are eight premier squads, run by great coaches who are even better men. It’s an absolute slam dunk for our kids and families.”
The Midwest Lacrosse Challenge consists of two lacrosse programs from each of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Missouri. They are:
- Brother Rice (Birmingham, Mich.)
- Carmel (Carmel, Ind.)
- Culver Academy (Culver, Ind.)
- DeSmet Jesuit (St. Louis, Mo.)
- Detroit Country Day School (Beverly Hills, Mich.)
- Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Ill.)
- Mary Institute and Country Day School (St. Louis, Mo.)
- New Trier (Winnetka, Ill.)
Culver Academy’s prep team, which plays one of the most difficult schedules in the country and is perennially ranked in the national top 25, jumped at the chance to be a part of the Midwest Lacrosse Challenge.
“The opportunity we provide our players by joining this league is tremendous,” said Jon Posner, head coach at Culver Academy and co-president of the league. “We firmly believe that for our kids to be successful at the next level, they need to face a challenging schedule in high school. By including the best teams across these four states, we can ensure a high level of competition.”
One of Culver’s rivals in the Midwest, Brother Rice, has been dominant in Michigan since the state sanctioned lacrosse in 2005. The Warriors have won every division-one state championship since that year and have amassed a 209-1 record against in-state opponents since 2003.
“Brother Rice is extremely excited about the formation of the Midwest Lacrosse Challenge and the opportunity to bring some of the top teams from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and St. Louis together for a truly elite tournament,” said Brother Rice head coach Ajay Chawla. “This will be a premier showcase of talent that should attract college coaches from across the country.”
In Illinois, New Trier High School has set the lacrosse standard, winning nine state championships in the past 11 years. Trevians head coach Tom Herrala is excited about the opportunity that the Midwest Lacrosse Challenge presents.
“Joining this league is a great opportunity for our program to grow on a national level. Getting to play games against teams in this tournament allows my players to experience playing against some of the best lacrosse players in the nation; guys who you will see on TV playing at the DI level over the next couple of years. As a program, we always strive to compete against the best teams to challenge us throughout the season. Playing in the Midwest Challenge allows us to offer that challenge. These are the best teams in the Midwest.”
The MICDS lacrosse program in St. Louis has been dominant in Missouri, as its squad has won the past three state championships under head coach Andy Kay. The Rams also ended last year as one of the best teams in the Midwest, defeating Ohio state champion Upper Arlington along the way to a 19-1 overall record.
Coach Kay is enthusiastic about this new chapter for his program. “I’m excited because this league should elevate the status of Midwestern lacrosse nationally,” Kay said. “Being invited into this league also really affirms that what our program and these kids have been doing is paying off. This truly validates the direction of our program.”
Ty Xanders, founder of RecruitingRundown.com, will cover the league and report from its tournament in early May.
Sponsorship opportunities and charitable affiliations are still available and any interested parties should contact Mike Cappelletti (firstname.lastname@example.org).