OC Preparing to Invade the Desert for Sandstorm

Untitled1Orange County will be well represented at the the 6th annual Sandstorm Championship Lacrosse Tournament at the Empire Polo Club in Indio January 19 and 20. Sandstorm will feature six boys divisions (Elite, High School, 9/10 grades, 7/8 grades, 5/6 grades, and 3/4 grades) and seven girls divisions (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019/20). The tournament’s competitive lacrosse, outstanding organization, and desert setting have earned it a reputation as a must-do tournament for the local lacrosse clubs. Games will be played on 18 grass fields at the Empire Polo Club.

Local boys teams registered to play in the elite division include the Golden Eagles (Elite,High School), West Coast FCA (Elite,High School, 9/10, 7/8, & 5/6) the Hooligans (Elite) DH Lions (Elite,9/10) the Orangemen (High School, 9/10), Land Sharks (7/8), and Surf Dawgs (5/6). Orange County will also be represented on Brady’s Bunch, which will be competing at all age levels. Brady’s Bunch won the Elite and High School age groups last year. The games kick off Saturday morning at 8 and the championship games will be played Sunday afternoon. The tournament schedule is posted at http://www.lacrosseincollege.com/photos/tid/SANDB/user/SS13_Color_Schedule.pdf.

The following press release provides more information about the tournament:


Sand Storm Lacrosse Festival Sold Out for Second Straight Year
Record Number of teams entered as Sixth Annual Tournament Continues Growth

Annapolis, MD (January 7, 2013) – The Chicago Wind club lacrosse organization was looking for a winter tournament to attend as a kickoff to its 2013 season. Head coach Bill Santulli did some research and discovered the Sand Storm Lacrosse Festival came highly recommended. “We did our homework and found nothing but positive reviews about Sand Storm,” Santulli said. “It’s a great location and we heard the competition is outstanding. It also comes at the perfect time of the year. It’s a major plus for our kids to be able to play an outdoor tournament in January.”

Organizers with Synapse Sports and Lax West have announced the sixth annual Sand Storm Lacrosse Festival, being held Jan. 19-20 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Cal., has reached full capacity for the second consecutive year. A record 200 boys’ and girls’ teams are slated to compete in the 2013 event, which is co-sponsored by Gatorade and STX. “We knew when we started Sand Storm in 2008 that it had tremendous potential. A warm weather location, state-of-the-art facility, top-notch competition and detailed organization are the ingredients for success,” said Cathy Samaras, found and CEO of Synapse Sports. “Sand Storm lived up to its potential and exceeded expectations since the beginning. Now it has become a destination event for club teams throughout the country as the premier winter tournament on the West Coast.”

Santulli said the timing of the tournament, conveniently held during the three-day Martin Luther King Holiday, is ideal for the Chicago Storm, whose players will have just completed exams. Santulli also noted the attraction of the Palm Springs resort destination. “It’s an awesome venue. There are a bunch of activities for our families and players to enjoy,” he said.
Sand Storm began as a girls’ club tournament and such organizations as Team 180 (Sam Bartron), Bear Lax (Theresa Sherry), Denver Summit (Liza Kelly), Triple Threat (Dearborn Davis) and X Team (Crista Samaras) have loyally attended every year. Now organizers are receiving entries from clubs in the Midwest, on the East Coast and even Canada. Burnaby Mountain Select, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, is sending its High School Elite Team to compete at Sand Storm. Consisting mostly of players from the 2014 and 2015 graduating classes, this squad is seeking to gain as much field lacrosse experience as possible. “Our girls grow up primarily playing box lacrosse so they need to learn the field game,” Burnaby head coach Chris Fox said. “Sand Storm will be our first tournament as a team and presents a great opportunity for these players to test their skills. The talent level is always very high and this tournament guarantees that we’ll get a lot of games in two days.”

Fox was very familiar with Sand Storm from having recruited at the event while an assistant coach at Division III Whittier College. The number of Division I, II and III collegiate coaches scouting talent at Sand Storm has increased significantly in recent years. That is another reason why Santulli selected the event for the Chicago Wind, whose 2013 squad boasts several promising prospects. “Obviously, the fact so many college coaches will be in attendance is a real bonus. We have numerous players that want to compete at the next level and they are very happy about the exposure they’re going to get at this tournament,” he said.

Sand Storm added a boys’ component in 2011 and it has grown exponentially under the guidance of Michael Watson of Lax West. In just three years, the boys’ tournament has grown from 14 to 86 teams. “It’s a testament to the overall quality of the event. Every team that participated the past two years had a great experience and it has spread by word of mouth that Sand Storm is a top-notch tournament in terms of a spectacular venue, precise management and strong competition,” Watson said. “A weekend in Palm Springs is very appealing to the out-of-town teams. I couldn’t be more thrilled with how quickly this thing has taken off.”

Watson has altered the format on the boys’ side to go with a purely grade-based system and said the response from participating clubs has been extremely positive. Sand Storm 2013 will feature six divisions from the Third-Fourth Grade group up to High School Elite. Watson is also excited the boys will be playing in the Forum and Rose Garden portions of the Empire Polo Club, which he believes “adds a lot of character and atmosphere.”

All-West (Matt Ogelsby, northern California), Brady’s Bunch (Mike “Papi” Wein, Arizona) and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (Glen Miles, southern California) are among the organizations that have attended Sand Storm since it added the boys component. 3d Lacrosse is a notable newcomer in 2013, a national organization that will bring four teams to the tourney. “We like to play in tournaments that are grade pure so Sand Storm fits right in with that philosophy,” said Pete Worstell, Director of Western Operations for 3d Lacrosse. “We heard good things about Sand Storm, liked what Michael Watson was doing with the event and felt it was a perfect fit for our organization. We go where we get a great experience and the integrity of the tournament is rock-solid, and by all accounts Sand Storm delivers on those points.” For more information about the 2013 Sand Storm Lacrosse Festival visit the event website: www.laxtournaments.com

Synapse Sports is the premier provider of lacrosse playing opportunities and recruiting events in the U.S. Founder and CEO Cathy Samaras has been a trailblazer in the sport of lacrosse, working tirelessly for over 20 years to promote the growth and development of the game – from grassroots to global. To learn more about the exciting events organized by the company visit www.synapsesports.com or call 410-573-1414.

Founded by former UVA 4-time All American Michael Watson, Lax West is committed to helping its participants reach their full potential as competitive lacrosse players and coaches through a variety of platforms including instructional and competitive camps, clinics and events, as well as coaching clinics and seminars, invitational exhibitions, games and tournaments. Visit www.laxwestlacrosse.com for more information.