St. Margaret’s Episcopal School (San Juan Capistrano, CA) has put three Colorado teams on their schedule this season. The No. 4 team in the West last year will host Columbine on March 25 and travel to Regis Jesuit on April 7 and Fort Collins on April 8.
St. Margaret’s is a little school with a big lacrosse program. With approximately 100 students per graduating class, the Tartans have won two out of the last three Southern Section titles. Their 21-3 record in 2016 earned them a #4 ranking in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse West regional poll behind St. Ignatius, Cherry Creek, and Regis Jesuit.
The Tartans played a challenging schedule in 2015 that included local rivals Foothill (No. 5 in the West) and Corona del Mar (No. 6 in the West). Their out of town opponents include San Diego powers Poway, La Costa Canyon, and Torrey Pines and Northern California foes San Ramon Valley and Bellarmine Prep. The Tartans did not however get the opportunity to test their mettle against the three teams that finished higher than them in the rankings.
Despite playing without Ryan Harnisch, who is now a freshman at Denver, for the first time in three years, the Tartans will field a formidable team. Players to watch include Ryan’s younger brother Samuel Harnisch (a future Pio), Tufts-commit Nick Shanks, Colby-bound goalie Payton Fales, St. John’s-commit Erik Suh, and midfielder Kevin Cox.
The quality of lacrosse in California and Southern California has risen dramatically over the last few years. Last year the Tartans played against current Denver freshmen Nate Marano (Foothill), Brett Greenlee (Corona del Mar), and Austin French (San Ramon Valley), Notre Dame freshman and U-19 National team member Hugh Crance, and Yale freshman Hoyt Crance (Corona del Mar).
Has California lacrosse caught up to Colorado? The St. Margaret’s games will help answer the question on the field.