by KELLEY GUSICH
[dropcap]L[/dropcap]acrosse might prompt your average San Diegan to say, “Oh, that sport’s only big on the East Coast.”  Say that again to the 70+ teams that participated in the SDCLA (San Diego County Lacrosse Association) Spring League 2012, and then say it louder to the 22 U15 (under 15) players who won the US  Central/Regional Championships on June 10.  They won’t hear you.

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]rlington, Texas was the travel destination for the All-Stars.  The players represented all areas of the region including Chula Vista, Scripps Ranch, Poway, La Jolla, Rancho Peñasquitos, Escondido, Carmel Valley, Rancho Santa Fe, Carlsbad and Del Mar.

[dropcap]C[/dropcap]oach Tom DeMaio led the championship team to victory in Texas and had much to shout about.   “Wow. Our defense…what they accomplished was amazing.  We had to be the only team without a handful of 6+ foot monsters roving the field and they proved heart and teamwork can overcome size on any day.”

[dropcap]R[/dropcap]adical talent is showcased by the thousands of kids in the San Diego region playing at all levels – from peewee youth to varsity high school teams.  The SDCLA league ranges from 5th to 8th grade.   However…

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]f the 80 who participated in two-day tryouts at Del Norte High School, only 22 were selected for the U15 San Diego Regional All-Star Team. The positions they filled included 8 midfielders, 5 attack, 1 FOGO (face off get off), 1 long stick midfielder and 2 goalies.

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ome individual players rated a shout-out from Coach DeMaio: “This Defense was made up of a leader and solid anchor (Crew), a first year player (Broc), a 13-year-old attack man filling in (Nick), a Temecula nose for the ball LSM (Yordi), and a skilled and tenacious younger 8th         grader who told me he has never played in a playoff game (Jake).”

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]trength, tenacity and dedication are the hallmarks of the SDCLA program for all of these middle school-age teams.  SDCLA member Sean Ciemewicz raved, “The most exciting part of the team is actually having a group of kids from different parts of town [and] bringing those differences together to form relationships that will last for years to come.”

[dropcap]E[/dropcap]very member of the team loves the game, loves to compete at the game and works hard to better their skills,” Sean commented further.   “The average San Diegan should definitely experience lacrosse!”