The event will bring together more than 700 elite boys and girls’ underclassmen throughout the country representing their respective regions to compete for a national championship. Team Georgia includes William Clark, Milton, Jonathan Mock, Johns Creek, JC Mucker, Roswell, Connor Redmond, Johns Creek, Jake Sadd, Johns Creek, Hunter Sanna, Milton, Janosch Spohner, Roswell, Preston Tippett, Roswell and Robert “Cole” Woodward, Roswell.
Leading the charge will be two rising juniors from Roswell High School, Garrett Blake and Andrew Thomas, who helped lead the Hornets to an appearance in the Final Four of the Class AAAAAA playoffs last season, the furthest the squad has ever reached in school history.
Both players know the fortune of the All-America opportunity. “Around 100 kids tried out for the team from the entire southeast,” said Blake, who leads the midfield for Roswell and cites the balance between the hitting and finesse aspects of lacrosse as the drawing factor to the sport. “It’s great to be picked because I know how talented some of the guys who didn’t make it are.” The Georgia team will compete against squads from New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland and Canada.
“We’ll play teams with players that we’ve already faced before playing for the varsity Roswell squad,” said Thomas, who is an attacker and likes the ability to use his athleticism as the main motivation for playing lacrosse. “Now we get to face them on a select team.”
The Classic will also present the Georgia residents the chance to represent the region in a traditionally strong area for lacrosse. “I love playing against kids from the northeast because they assume that there is a lack of skill and finesse in the south,” Blake said. “It’s fun to go up there, compete and surprise them.”
Both elite athletes are a product of the Roswell Junior Hornets lacrosse program with Blake playing the sport since third grade and Thomas starting in the sixth grade. “More people are starting to accept lacrosse in Roswell,” said Blake. “We’re still in Georgia where football and baseball are still the main sports. Making the Final Four last year has gotten us more respect within the community, including the teachers, parents and students.”
The expectations for the Classic remain the same for both players. “I’m looking forward to going against the bigger players and improving,” said Thomas.
“The only way you’re going to get better is to face top competition,” said Blake. “Both of us are going to learn some techniques that we can bring back with us to Roswell.”