The “Best In the West” gathered at Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, CA on Saturday evening to play in the Adrenaline All-American game and receive the credit they deserve through all of their hard work and success during their high school careers.
As part of the festivities, the players spent time during the day at the high school putting on clinics for the younger crowd as a chance to coach, mentor and give back to the game. Players from many states west of the Mississippi came to show their skills. The South team featured players from Southern California, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona, while the North team also had standouts from Northern California, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Texas and Canada. You can find the full roster here.
The main event was what everyone in attendance had hoped for – a high flying, highlight-packed scoring exhibition with both teams scoring fantastic goals in bunches and competing for the love of the game. The South team came out on top, 18-17. The teams traded goals the entire game, with neither team being up by more than three goals at any point. The fans were treated to an excellent show, as there were three lead changes in the last two minutes of the game to add some drama to the offensive overload.
Quinn Eissler (Coronado (NV), High Point) of the North team was named the game’s MVP, after scoring an incredible eight goals on the day. All-American teammate Max Tuttle (Castle View (CO), Sacred Heart) added a hat trick to the Northern effort.
The South team had key contributions from notable Southern Californians that are headed to Division I programs in the East. Jackson Leinhart (Torrey Pines, Bellarmine) had a great showing with three goals and an assist, while Jake Schleppy (Jserra, High Point) scored three goals of his own for the South side. Stan Gilbertson (Palos Verdes, Hobart) had a four point day, with a pair of both goals and assists.
After the game, I got the chance to catch up with Leinhart and Sammy Edwards (Beverly Hills, Loyola) to ask about their experience as All-American selections, their thoughts on the West Coast lacrosse explosion and their transition to college lacrosse.
Mikey Diggs: What’s it feel like to be selected as an Adrenaline All-American?
Jackson Leinhart: It feels good. I mean, I grew up in the west, so I always knew about Adrenaline and wanted to do this kind of thing. But, at the time, I [had moved to] Kentucky, so I was bummed that I couldn’t do it… Moving back out here and getting the opportunity to play in this game, play for RC and play for Tropics has been really cool.
Sammy Edwards: It was awesome. It was a surreal feeling. I’ve been playing with most of these kids my entire career, with West Coast Starz and local club teams, so to get out here with them one more time on a bigger stage in front of some cameras was pretty cool.
MD: What’s it like being part of lacrosse exploding in California with so many guys your age going to top programs all across the country?
JL: It’s awesome, honestly. It’s similar to the Midwest, but maybe a little bit more advanced out here on the West Coast. But being a part of the game, making it big-time and being part of the early process of making [lacrosse] big out here is cool.
SE: It’s actually been pretty crazy. I’m getting kind of jealous, because recruiting is getting kind of easy out here and my grade had to work really hard for it! But it’s really awesome to see kids that we know and that used to watch us on the sideline are going to go do their own thing and pave their own path.
MD: What was it like playing with and against guys from all over the West?
JL: It’s cool being out there when everyone on the field is as good as they are. You just feel like you’re a part of something big. It’s a cool opportunity being on the field with so many great players.
SE: It was crazy. On some of these club teams, I play with some of these kids, but some of them I don’t get to play with. But you hear the name, because obviously we have some studs out here. So kids like Sam Romano, Austin French, a lot of the Denver commits, Syracuse, Notre Dame… You hear about them, but you don’t get to see them as much. So it’s awesome to get to see them out here, see what they can do and compare yourself.
MD: What are your thoughts about heading East in the fall for school?
JL: Everyone says it’s a big jump. It’s going to be kind of weird, because since I’ve been a sophomore I’ve always been one of the better players on my team, and who knows if that’s going to be the same in college? Point being, I’m going to be a freshman again, and having to kind of work my way up is going to be interesting. I’m just going to have to work hard and see where it goes.
SE: I’m very excited and very nervous at the same time. It’s an element I’ve never experienced – I’ve never been on my own, but I’ve never played Division I lacrosse before either. So I couldn’t be more excited to do that. It’s a tradeoff, but I’m really excited. I’m gonna love it.
MaxLax congratulates the players and the families of all of those that were selected as 2015 Adrenaline All-Americans!