By Chris Goldberg
LILacrosseNews.com, Posted 1/20/14
A group of 240 of the top 2016 and 2017 girls’ lacrosse players from the East Coast competed Saturday and Sunday in the Nike Elite 120 at The Indoor Sports Pavilion in Randolph, N.J.
The invite-only event drew 94 Division I coaches as 120 players in each class participated in SPARQ Testing in four events and then a two-day championship tournament.
One of the highlight players was Garden City 2016 midfielder Katie Muldoon (Long Island Top Guns), who had the top times in two of the SPARQ events (20-yard dash at 2.96 seconds and 5-10-10-5 Agility at 6.5 seconds) while adding a fifth in the Powerball (40.1 feet). She was 13th in the Vertical Leap (27.8). Muldoon – who competed in the event last year – also was a member of the 2016 team champion Eagles.
“I was familiar with the testing because of last year, however, it was a little different this year,” said Muldoon. “Regardless, I wanted to do even better this year, which I was able to do because of my winter track training. I was really excited about my results and it helped me gain confidence as the games began.”
Muldoon said her team, guided by Radnor (PA) coach Brooke Fritz, worked well together.
“Our team was successful because of our teamwork,” Muldoon said. “Our coach told us ‘make our teammates look even better then yourself’ which really made us work together and play like a team. I thought I played well because I didn’t worry about the number of goals I scored; instead, I worked as hard as I could and hustled to help my team be successful.
“From this tournament I learned that playing as a team is much more important than playing like 11 individuals. I learned that with hard work anything can be accomplished and my team thought the same which is why we did so great.”
In the 2017 division, the Knights won the crown with contributions from Kelly George (Team Elevate), Leah Nonnenmann (LI Yellow Jackets), Jamie Ortega (Yellow Jackets), and Grace Steinthal (FLG).
“It was very competitive, but I think I did pretty well,” added Emily Mathewson, a 2016 attack from Brandywine Majors (PA) and Garnet Valley High. “I was a little nervous seeing all those coaches, but our team played like the ‘comeback kids’ and made it to the semifinals where we lost by one goal.”
Mathewson enjoyed competing in the SPARQ testing for the second time in less than a year. She first was tested last summer at the Nike Ride.
This time she excelled, testing as the top 2016 player in the vertical leap with a leap of 27.8 inches. Players also were tested in the Kneeling Powerball (testing core strength).
Natasha Rahal, a 2017 midfielder from ADK and Queensbury High (N.Y.), said she learned a lot about her skills from the event.
“One of my goals coming in was to just improve on anything and always do my best,” she said. “I really enjoyed it; it made me realize everything I need to work on, and I realized all my hard work will pay off.”
Concluded Muldoon: “This tournament is a great one for recruiting. It exposes you to many different coaches and the level of play is very competitive. I am in the middle of the whole process and I am visiting all different schools to keep my options open. I am looking for the school that will fit me best both academically and athletically.”
2016 SPARQ winners
20-yard dash (IN SECONDS) Katie Muldoon (Long Island Top Guns) 2.96
5-10-10-5 Agility (IN SECONDS) Katie Muldoon (Long Island Top Guns) 6.5
Powerball (IN FEET) Maddie McDaniel (MD United) 40.1
Vertical Leap (IN INCHES) Emily Mathewson (Brandywine Majors) 27.8
2017 SPARQ winners
20-yd Dash (IN SECONDS) Brittany Faye Bruno, (t3) 2.58
5-10-10-5 Agility (IN SECONDS) Hannah Cermack (STEPS) 6.75
Powerball (IN FEET) Molly Baechler (South Jersey Select) 45.6
Vertical Leap (IN INCHES) Amelia Cole (Capital Blue 2017) 25.1
Tags: Garden City