Boys South All-Stars boast only three local selectees; South Girls feature 10 Charm City Metro Area players

by Nelson Coffin

While the Under Armor Lacrosse Classic Senior All-America Games continue a long tradition of being held in Baltimore, this year’s version and broadcast live on ESPNUHD — slated for Saturday afternoon/evening at Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood Field — will have a bit of a different look from a local perspective.

For the Boys South All-Stars, the only selectees from the Baltimore Metro Area are midfielder Dante Trader (McDonogh School), attackman Ben Smith (Boys’ Latin School) and defenseman Colin Burlace (St. Mary’s High School) on a roster with 24 slots.

Compared to last year’s Boys South All-Stars’ roster that boasted Baltimoreans filling nine of 22 roster spots for a game that was canceled because of the pandemic, that’s a big difference.

Nevertheless, there are probably several reasons for the lack of locals on the boys squad, including the expanding popularity of the sport.

“The sport has exploded in popularity all over the country,” said Joe Kerrigan, Corrigan Sports Enterprises director of lacrosse marketing and public relations. “The Senior Game selections represent 13 states and one player from Canada, which I believe will become more common as the game continues to grow throughout the country.”

Kerrigan added that the underclass tournament that runs through the weekend and showcases teams from Baltimore, has representation from over 350 clubs and 430 high schools across the country.

Burlace, who was named to the All-America team two years after his older brother, BJ, played for the South All-Stars in the 2019 game against the North All-Stars, said that it was not a good showing from the talent-rich MIAA.

“I don’t know exactly what happened,” added Colin Burlace, VSN’s 2020 Boys Defensive Player of the Year. “But I think the league might have been a little underclassmen-heavy this year.”

And to be fair, there were only two other Baltimoreans to complement the older Burlace brother — Calvert Hall’s Grant Mitchell and Jack Sawyer — on 2019 South All-Stars, hinting at the cyclical nature of the talent pool.

Moreover, a plethora of Charm City products dotting the Girls South All-Stars’ roster gives the area more than adequate representation in the event.

Of the 24 roster spots on the Girls South All-Stars, 10 are local, including four from reigning Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champion St. Paul’s School for Girls.

Attacker Caitlin McElwee, midfielder Christina Gagnon, defender Paris Colgain and goalie Leah Warehime give the Gators a presence on every sector of the field in the contest.

Gerstell Academy grads Emily Messinese, a midfielder, and defenders Kennedy Major and Haley Polk, are also part of a Baltimore area-oriented squad that also includes midfielders Demma Hall (Century High School), Sammy White (Dulaney High School) and Madison Sterling (John Carroll School).

Despite being unable to participate in the game because of a recent shoulder separation, Warehime said that she felt “honored and excited to play with all the great players from across the country.”

While all-star games usually feature strong offensive performances, Warehime said that she was looking forward to having the opportunity to face numerous shots from the North All-Stars.

“And that’s how you can learn to run a defense,” the Georgetown University commit said. “It was really exciting to think about playing on the same team with so many great players.”

Colin Burlace said that he was “pumped” to be selected.

He added that he thought he had a chance to be named to the team.

“After BJ was selected (in 2019), I wanted it even more,” added Burlace, headed to the University of Maryland in the fall. “The game is really more about making trick plays rather than the right play. For the most part, you just want to go out and look good.”

And, of course, players and fans are happy to have the return of an entertaining evening of prep lacrosse back after a year’s hiatus.

So is Lee Corrigan, the president of Corrigan Sports Enterprises.

“We’re very excited to have the Under Armour All America Senior Game back in 2021,” he said. “The talent this year is unmatched and we can’t wait to see the student-athletes put on a show at Homewood. I’d like to thank Under Armour and all our other partners who helped put together such a prestigious event.”