Want to peer into lacrosse's crystal ball? It's easy. No visit to a psychic is necessary, only a trip to the 2014 Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium July 12.
Presented by Under Armour and Corrigan Sports Enterprises Inc., the ninth-annual installment of the showcase contest will once again feature the nation's premier scholastic players as they prepare to embark on their collegiate careers.
"It's going to be a really good experience, foreshadowing what's to come in lacrosse," said Keegan O'Connor, a midfielder from Boys' Latin and a Maryland recruit who made the boys' South team.
Nine of the 10 2014 Tewaaraton Trophy men's and women's finalists are former Under Armour All-Americans, including all five women's nominees. More than 70 players who had previously competed in the Classic were All-Conference selections in 2014, with four men and 11 women claiming Player of the Year accolades in their respective leagues.
Attacker/midfielder Cortney Fortunato tallied four goals and four assists to earn MVP honors during the 2013 Classic. This spring, she led Notre Dame in scoring, pacing the Fighting Irish with 63 points (46 goals, 17 assists) in a first-team All-American effort.
Maryland attackman Matt Rambo started all 17 games for the Terps this year, tallying 30 goals and six assists. He received MVP honors at the Classic last year with a record-setting eight goals.
The Classic is sometimes more of a shooting gallery than a game. Game scores can extend into the 30s, 40s and even 50s -- last year's boys' contest ended in a 28-24 South victory. The 52 points are equal to the tally from January's Under Armour All-American football game.
Participants are selected by a panel from Inside Lacrosse magazine with a yearlong process including input from college and high school coaches and public nominations. The players come from 16 states; Washington, D.C.; and Ontario. The boys' rosters include three players each from Smithtown West of New York and Boys' Latin. On the girls' side, St. Stephen's & St. Agnes leads the way with three seniors apiece.
"The makeup of the teams certainly speaks to lacrosse all over the country," Corrigan Sports president Lee Corrigan said. "It just shows the guys who are selecting the team are truly doing a great job."
Two-time national champion Duke has six recruits on the boys' side, with fellow Championship Weekend participants Notre Dame and Maryland each claiming five. The Terps, Florida and Northwestern have five All-American recruits each playing in the girls' contest.
Boys' Latin is represented by midfielders Tal Bruno and O'Connor as well as attackman Shack Stanwick. Bruno and Stanwick are bound for Johns Hopkins. All-Americans from Georgetown Prep are midfielder Brendan Collins and attackman Charlie Horning Jr., who will attend Notre Dame and Villanova, respectively.
Four other local players earned All-America honors. Defenseman Alex Hurdle and midfielder Brinton Valis are headed to Notre Dame and Johns Hopkins after graduating from McDonogh. North Carolina-bound midfielder William McBride is a Gilman alumnus, and future Fighting Irish attackman Mikey Wynne went to St. Paul's.
All-Americans from McDonogh on the girls' roster are defender Steffani Holmes and attacker Megan Whittle, both of whom are bound for national champion Maryland, where they'll be joined by two fellow All-Americans, Marriotts Ridge midfielder Taylor Hensh and South River midfielder Kacie Longo.
Five other area players were named to the girls' roster. Maryvale defender Lauren Hudson is bound for Cincinnati. Mount de Sales attacker Amanda Ignacio is committed to Georgetown. Mt. Hebron's Tianna Wallpher has signed with UMBC. Notre Dame Prep midfielder Molly Cobb has signed with Notre Dame. Roland Park midfielder CeCe Finney is going to Florida.
"This is the big one," Whittle said. "I've been an underclassman All-American for the past three years and have been looking forward to this for a while. It's truly heartening to see so many of the girls who played in this game before doing so well in college."
The Under Armour All-America Boys Classic will be shown on ESPNU at 5 p.m. July 12, followed by the Underclassmen Elite tournament, featuring the top boys' and girls' players from the classes of 2015-17 from 10 regions across the country. The three-day tournament will culminate July 13 with the girls' and boys' finals at 3:30 p.m. on the fields surrounding Johnny Unitas Stadium. New this year is the JUCO Elite Showcase, which will feature 72 of the best junior college players in the country playing in three games July 11.