James Ringer had barely taken the field when he came up the left side, cut through two defenders and put the ball in the back of the net.
The Bayport-Blue Point midfielder came in during the second half of the rising sophomore all-star game after wrapping up another contest with his club team, Team 91 White, and gave a sample of the tons of young talent that descended on Farmingdale State for the LI Lax Fest on Saturday.
“The first goal I had I forced it a little bit, but it was a good take,” Ringer said. “I just wanted to show myself to these colleges because I see them all up on the sidelines so I’ve got to show them something good.”
National championship runner-up Maryland, No. 4 Albany and No. 10 Duke were a few of the many top schools represented with coaches at the showcase. More than 400 club teams ranging from third grade to high school came from 33 states to get exposure, said George Breres, one of the event’s directors.
Ringer, who had 20 goals and 16 assists for Bayport-Blue Point this season, said it’s important to perform at these types of events because once a top college coach shows interest, other programs may follow. It also helps to do it against the best from each team.
“When I play with my regular travel team, we’re good, but when you get everyone really good at the tournament together at one time, you’re really able to showcase your level of play even higher,” Ringer said.
For others just entering the recruiting process, the weekend brought an opportunity to improve for next year’s high school season. Comsewogue’s Thomas Heller, playing with LI Empire Volt, used the rising sophomore all-star game as an opportunity to prepare for a varsity goalie competition next year.
“It helps me see shots, get me more ready for faster shots,” said Heller, who was brought up to varsity during this season’s playoffs. “The level of play is different.”
Teams cycled through different fields throughout the day, facing familiar Long Island faces and others from around the country. Ryan Feldman, a rising junior midfielder for Chaminade and LI Tide Element, said having such a big event in the Long Island lacrosse hot bed was a big draw.
“Normally you have to go to tournaments in Maryland and out of state,” Feldman said. “This is nice because you can sleep in your own bed and be able to play just as good competition.”
Half Hollow Hills East defenseman Conor Caiazza reeled off the reasons it’s important to perform when given the opportunity in the rising junior/senior all-star game, but he also summed up what many of the players had come to Long Island for in the summer heat.
“Keeping the stick in your hand all year round, it helps you get better,” Caiazza said. “It can only help.”