The Origins of Lax Across America: Covering Division 1 College Lacrosse Outside Traditional Hotbeds
Two things provided the initial inspiration for this site.
The first was something I came across several years ago while clearing out some old files.
It was artifact from my Division 1 college lacrosse career: a Johns Hopkins game-day program, commemorating the team’s annual homecoming contest, played at the game’s most revered venue, Homewood Field.
There was, though, something odd about that program.
What struck me immediately was something on the Hopkins player roster, or more precisely, something not on the roster—namely any mention, along with the listed position, height, weight, and class year, of any individual JHU player’s home state.
It seemed an extraordinarily smug, why-would-you-even-have-to-ask oversight; but also, a telling one.
At that time, after all, it seemed a stipulated fact that D1 college lacrosse players, especially those that mattered and among the schools that mattered, almost invariably came from either Maryland or New York.
Enter Jack Jasinski
The second spur came in the form of Jack Jasinski’s 7-point, breakout performance in the 2017 NCAA Division 1 lacrosse tournament.
Jasinski, I thought I heard an announcer say, was from Alabama.
How exactly does a guy from Alabama end up on a D1 lacrosse roster—let alone that of an Ohio State team playing in the NCAA tournament, and against, of all teams, Johns Hopkins?
Yes, of course, there are recruitment camps, showcase games, and travel teams, but how does how did a guy in Alabama get interested in lacrosse in the first place?
Who did he play for? And who coached him? And who did he play with?
More importantly, who did he play against?
And are there more like him in Alabama, or is he just a one-off, an anomaly?
And what about those D1 players from other states like Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington or Minnesota?
Since when has Minnesota, for instance, been producing D1 talent—and just how many Nevadans (or Texans or Kentuckians) are playing D-1 right now? And who do they play for?
Has a state like Kentucky, say, ever produced any truly top-shelf D1 talent? (The answer, I would soon discover, is yes).
Even casual research showed me that there was some great material in the answers to these questions.
Some of it could be found in national and regional lacrosse sites, and most of that material was not only well-written, but written by individuals who actually knew the game.
But there was a great deal more material—the “local” perspective on these players and lacrosse scenes in the individual “non-traditional” states that they represented.
Too often that material was either fragmentary or almost unfindable.
And much of this local coverage seemed to have been provided by writers who (understandably) did not know much about the game and even, in some instances, seemingly didn’t care.
In any case, no one, as far as I could see, had pulled together information about these non-traditional lacrosse regions and communities producing D1 talent in any kind of comprehensive or coherent way.
Ho Chi Minh, The Secret Service, Navy Seals…and Minnesota Lax Refs
Yet another reason I began the site is that I kept uncovering stories that were simply too good not to explore further.
Those stories include:
- The tenacious Colorado defender who went on to stardom at Princeton…and then to the Secret Service, and the Senate Intelligence Committee.
- The prominent network news anchor—and for many years, Colgate’s all-time leading scorer—who has overcome severe injuries caused by a roadside bomb while he was on assignment in Iraq.
- The California lacrosse promoter, and former intelligence officer, who secretly parachuted into Hanoi to confer with Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh—back in the days when he was a U.S. ally.
- The flamboyant singer/songwriter piano man who was actually the product of a powerhouse high school lacrosse program and played not only D1 lacrosse, but also soccer.
- The Syracuse lacrosse tour that saw the Orange play back-to-back games against Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia…in 1927.
- The luckless official who found himself the only qualified lacrosse referee in the entire state of Minnesota.
- The Ohio lacrosse legend, and both football teammate and roommate of a future N.F.L. superstar, who became a First-Team All-American—despite never having touched a lacrosse stick prior to college.
- The trilingual Floridian who thwarted Duke’s last-minute rush in the 2018 D1 national championship game.
- The D1 program in Indiana, which had had national ambitions and was once the equal of instate rival Notre Dame, that abruptly imploded and disappeared.
- The Syracuse star from California with a seemingly contrived name, who led a number of very real special-forces operations, and later served as Head of Basic and Advanced SEAL Training.
- The tragic death of Minnesota’s first D1 lacrosse player.
What’s Included Here:
Listings of Current and Past D1 Lacrosse Players from States Outside Traditional Hotbeds
This site includes listings of current 2021 D1 players from non-hotbed states like Florida, Colorado, Texas, Georgia, and Oregon.
Each state page also provides a list of past players from those states, with some entries dating back to the 90’s.
Profiles of the Best All-Time D1 Players from Non-hotbed States
There are also posts profiling, and defending, choices for the best D1 players from individual states outside traditional lacrosse hotbeds—- again, states like Arizona, Minnesota, Illinois, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Oregon, Colorado, and California.
The players you’ll find profiled here include names like Pierce Bassett (Arizona), Neal Hicks (Georgia), Ben Williams (Minnesota), Kyle Bernlohr and Brendan Shook (Ohio), Tucker Hull (North Carolina), Eric Law and Christian Cook (Colorado), Dan Morris and Chris Hipps (Texas), and Sergio Salcido and Jake, Jesse, and Jared Bernhardt (Florida).
Posts Featuring Non-hotbed Players and Programs—Past and Present
Finally, there are a number of feature articles devoted to topics like Indiana’s lost D1 college lacrosse program, the death of Minnesota’s first D1 lacrosse player, the day Florida lacrosse came of age, the demise of South Carolina’s sole D1 lacrosse program, the elusive D1 lacrosse star from Missouri, non-hotbed players and the annual premier event for incoming D1 freshman, college lacrosse and Ohio captured in two ceremonies, and Jacksonville’s claim to the title “Lacrosse Capital of The South”.
A Little about Me
My name is David Parry, and I am the founder and editor of Lax Across America.
And before you become unduly taken by references above to Hopkins, Homewood, and my own D1 career, you should know that my D1 playing credentials are in reality pretty thin.
My D1 career, consisting of a one-season, freshman walk-on stint at Brown, was not only brief but undistinguished.
On the other hand, I’ve been a longtime fan of D1 lacrosse, and have, I think, a fairly sound knowledge of the game.
And beyond that, my background in digital marketing and both copywriting and content creation convinced me that I was in a good position to bring some overdue attention to the players, coaches, states, and communities outside traditional lacrosse hotbeds.
This site is the result.