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Third-annual Shootout For Soldiers Raises $175,000
For three years, Shootout for Soldiers has brought together sports and the United States armed forces. Shootout for Soldiers is a 24-hour lacrosse game raising awareness and funds for wounded American soldiers.
ShootoutForSoldiers.com stresses that the event is all about fun and not a tournament or for recruiting purposes, which makes it unique. There were 24 one-hour games, beginning at 9 a.m. June 19 and going until 9 a.m. June 20. The two teams were the Stars and Stripes, which are made up of the players who register, who come from various age groups. There has been a men's game all three years, and a women's game for two years.
Event creator Tyler Steinhardt and his fellow classmates from the Boys' Latin School came up with the idea for this event during the 2011-12 school year after watching a video in class about U.S. wounded soldiers returning home from combat in the Middle East. In 2012, the event was held at Boys' Latin, but with its growing popularity and the need for lights for the overnight games, the organizers decided to hold the event at McDonogh School, which has lighted fields, in 2013 and 2014.
Admission to the event was free, and it was loaded with activities. There was a U.S. Army Golden Knights skydive jump to kick off the event, a midnight trick-shot challenge, a 4 a.m. hot dog-eating contest, a wheelchair lacrosse game and a cornhole tournament.
Some of the top players in the game were in attendance, including Paul Rabil (DeMatha), Kyle Hartzell (Archbishop Curley), Brendan Mundorf (Mount St. Joseph) and Steele Stanwick (Loyola Blakefield).
"I can remember when [Steinhardt] started it the first year," Hartzell said, "and it was a project for him at school, and I don't think he thought it would take off like this. The event has raised over $100,000 each year, and I know a lot of people currently in the military, so coming out and supporting this cause is special [to me]."
This year's event raised $175,000 to benefit the Army Ranger Lead the Way Fund, the Gary Sinise Foundation, Semper Fi Fund and the Wounded Warrior Project. The amount raised has grown every year.
"The energy this year is so vibrant," Steinhardt said. "It has really been great. We have expanded who we are working with. We want to have a deeper impact with the veteran community in addition to the Wounded Warrior Project, but we have been able to measure the impact more and do more, and we are really excited about that. "
TJ Kenary, who runs the Wounded Warrior Project's lacrosse division and played at Jacksonville University, said he loved being a part of Shootout for Soldiers.
"We are happy to be here and supporting Tyler," Kenary said. "He's a machine, an innovator, and this event has grown awareness about the Wounded Warrior Project every year."
This year, for the first time, Shootout for Soldiers organizers are planning to hold a second event, which would be in Long Island, N.Y. It is set to take place from 9 a.m. July 24 to 9 a.m. July 25.
"I'm not going to count my chickens before they hatch," Steinhardt said. "That event has a lot of stuff to work on. But there is a great team up in Long Island working on it, and that's way more them than me and my team here, but that's why it's going to be great and to have its own spin on it."
Baltimore Summer Kickoff Showcases Elite Prospects
The summer club lacrosse season is here. There have been numerous boys' and girls' club lacrosse events popping up all over the country during the last five years. The Baltimore Summer Kickoff has become one of the top boys' events when it comes to skill set, the types of teams attending and the number of college coaches that come to recruit. The event is held on the campus at St. Paul's School in Brooklandville, Md.
Baltimore natives Jon Torpey and Pat Tracy, the head men's lacrosse coach and associate head men's lacrosse coach at High Point University (High Point, N.C.) are the co-creators of the event. Torpey said he was pleased with the way it had grown into an elite tournament.
"We have really enjoyed running an event that brings the best high school and club teams together and attracts a great amount of college coaches," Torpey said.
The event is split up into two June weekend sessions. This year, there was a third Baltimore Summer Kickoff session, held June 16-18.
Baltimore Summer Kickoff attracts teams from states such as Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, California, Texas and North Carolina. Of course, teams from Maryland and the Washington, D.C., area come to play. There were three different age groups, identified by graduation years: 2017, 2016 and 2015.
"I think it's incredible to see how many great players there are from so many different diverse geographic regions," Torpey said. "The game is really growing at every level, and it is creating some amazing competition at the top. It seems like every team you see, no matter where they are from, has a few potential student-athletes."
During the sessions, two separate All-Star games (one for 2015 players, and the other for 2016 and 2017 players) take place with close to 100 college coaches filling the sidelines to check out elite prospects.
"I enjoy seeing rivalries develop between clubs and watching the best players in the country and Canada be coached by some amazing coaches and former players," Torpey said. "Watching potential student-athletes compete in 90-plus-degree weather for 2-3 games a day at a high level really can give you a great gauge on not only physical toughness and skill, but mental toughness as well. It's amazing what these young players are doing."
Q&A: New York Lizards Defenseman Kyle Hartzell
Archbishop Curley alumnus Kyle Hartzell is now a defenseman for the New York Lizards of Major League Lacrosse and a member of the U.S. men's national lacrosse team. He was also one of the coaches of the 2013 Boys' Latin lacrosse team.
Hartzell won an NJCAA championship with the Community College of Baltimore County (Essex) and won a Division III national championship with Salisbury in 2007. He is now the head coach at Plano West High School in Plano, Texas.
PressBox caught up with Hartzell at Shootout for Soldiers and got his thoughts about Shootout for Soldiers, what it means to play for his country and what he thought of Boys' Latin's 2014 championship season.
PressBox: What do you think of the U.S. armed forces and the Wounded Warrior Project supporting Shootout for Soldiers?
Kyle Hartzell: The reason we are here to be able to play this sport is because of them, fighting for our freedom. It's awesome to have them come out and see how the event is doing. You can see the smiles on their faces.
PB: What are your thoughts about Boys' Latin winning the MIAA A Conference championship this year, especially after you were on the staff for last year's heartbreaking title loss?
KH: It was awesome. I have been following them all year. To get that monkey off their backs has to be awesome. They have been looking for that [championship] win for a while. It's good to see them go undefeated, wire to wire. I could not be happier for that group.
PB: What does it mean to you that you'll get to play for Team USA in July during the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championship in Denver, Colo.?
KH: Anytime you get to wear USA on your chest and play for your country, it is a big honor. It is the highest honor in the game. It is something I always looked forward to when I was a young kid. This will be my first time playing internationally, and hopefully we can win the gold [medal].
Featured College Commitments
Catonsville defender Lila Nazarian -- Syracuse University
McDonogh attacker Catie May -- University of Maryland