Saint Viator’s boys lacrosse team is going places.
They left Thursday to take part in the National High School Lacrosse Showcase in Baltimore, where they will have the chance to play against high ranked high school teams — and before college coaches from around the country.
“We will be playing against some of the most successful — storied — lacrosse programs in the country,” Coach Bill Sanford said. Sanford led the team to a conference title in the East Suburban Catholic Conference, as well as fourth place at state in May.
Saint Viator is one of only three teams from Illinois to be invited to the showcase. In all, 54 teams are gathering in Baltimore, representing 17 states, Washington D.C. and Canada.
“This is a big step for our program’s development,” Sanford said. “It’s similar to the trip we took over spring break to California, as well as the all-Catholic tournament we played in from 2011 to 2013, but this tournament is on a much bigger platform.”
Earlier this spring, Saint Viator’s lacrosse team drew attention for its efforts off the field. In May, the team was inducted into the Sports Faith Hall of Fame, led by Patrick McCaskey, president of its advisory board and senior director of special projects for the Chicago Bears.
Organization leaders pointed to the team’s support of 9-year old Dylan Full, inducting him last year as their youngest team member, and including him whenever possible, as he recovers from a brain tumor.
Dylan will not be with the team in Baltimore, but 23 players will be on the roster, including nine seniors, four juniors and 10 sophomores. Their schedule includes games against Gilman (MD), Highland Park (TX), La Salle College High School (Philadelphia) and Canandaigua (NY), and that’s just in pool play.
This is the third year of the lacrosse showcase tournament. Coaches from prominent Baltimore high schools developed the event, and annually it draws close to 70 college coaches from across the country and from all NCAA playing levels.
“Many of our players are interested in playing collegiate lacrosse,” Sanford added, “so this is a great platform for them to be evaluated at the same time and in a unique setting.”