Lassiter’s Cash Carlson, Hunter Rowley and Tom Barre are among 25 underclassmen selected to represent Georgia in the Brine National High School All-American Classic, which will be held June 30-July 3 in Boyds, Md. Walton’s Kip Jones and Kennesaw Mountain’s Andrew Nix also made the final cut, and all five of the county standouts were named Brine All-Americans.
The Brine Lacrosse Classic consists of 16 regional teams of 25 players, all entering grades 10-12, who will compete for a national championship. It also gives players early exposure to college scouts once the tournament gets under way.
“Everyone talks about nationals and being the tournament with the best players,” Jones said. “Winning this means you’re on the best team in the country.”
Three additional locals — Jason Tutchton, George Ehlers and Nick Zessack — will represent Tennessee. Tutchton attends Lassiter, while Ehlers and Zessack are Marietta natives who attend the McCallie School, a boys boarding school in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Tryouts for the Brine Lacrosse Classic, held earlier this month at Johns Creek High School, lasted three hours, and candidates were required to do 1-on-1, 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 drills before finishing the session with scrimmages. Many of the state’s top coaches were on watch, including Westminster’s Tony Souza and former Syracuse All-American and LB3 Lacrosse Club founder Liam Banks.
“I was pretty surprised because there were a lot of kids there,” said Nix, who was named Kennesaw Mountain’s top defensive player, winning the honor for a third-straight time. “I was surprised to have gotten a look, but I am definitely excited to play and be around the kids I will be playing with.”
Most of the five local players who advanced to the national tournament, characterized the drills as exhausting and intense, but they still yielded the positive results the players wanted.
“Half of the drills I wasn’t used to, so it was kind of awkward,” Carlson said, “but I picked it up pretty quick.”
Carlson, who was named All-American and Class AAAAA all-state after leading Lassiter to the state finals, is expected to be a force in the tournament. The 6-foot-5 defender, using his physicality and quickness, helped the Trojans by positioning himself on the field and staying in front of opposing attackers.
One of Carlson’s biggest plays of the season came in the state championship game, when he stripped the ball from a Milton player and set up Lassiter’s game-tying goal in the final minute to send the game to overtime, where the Trojans eventually fell 10-9.
Rowley and Barre just completed their sophomore seasons. Rowley, who plays up front, came on strong at the end of the year, scoring two goals apiece against Milton in the final and East Coweta in the semifinals. Barre helped anchor the midfield.
A few one-goal losses this past season prevented Walton from defending its 2011 state championship, but the Raiders still made the state tournament with help from Jones’ contributions. An attack player who grew up playing in Charlotte, N.C., Jones said he prefers assists over goals, but he still finished the season with 34 goals and 26 assists.
Nix, a rising senior, led Kennesaw Mountain defensively, but he will likely switch over to the midfield if he wants to play lacrosse at the collegiate level.