June has turned to July, bringing with it traditional summer-time heat and the final opportunities for 14U, 13U and 12U teams to earn qualifying points toward a berth in the US Lacrosse Nationals. US Lacrosse sanctioned tournament partners 3d Lacrosse, Adrenaline, NXT and Trilogy each hosted a qualifier last weekend as the #RoadToDelaware reaches the home stretch.
The US Lacrosse Nationals will welcome as many as 96 teams to DE Turf Sports Complex in Frederica, Del., Aug. 2-5, marking the national governing body’s 10th annual season-ending tournament for the best of its 300,000 youth members.
A summary of last weekend’s qualifiers, as provided by on-site staff:
The Grail (NXT)
NXT held a huge Midwestern qualifier in Westfield, Ind., at Grand Park. Alongside an affiliated high school event the Mid-American Showcase, NXT’s Grail featured some 60 teams that entered the highly competitive US Lacrosse qualifying divisions at boys’ 12U, 13U, and 14U, and girls’ 12U and 14U.
The Grail was a two-day, championship-format tournament, and several teams managed to earn significant qualifying points for the US Lacrosse Nationals.
In the boys’ 14U Division, Indiana-based Mad Cats 2022 took home the title by beating Blue Brothers 14U Blue, 9-1, in the final. The Cats earned 140 qualifying points and are tied for fourth overall in the 14U qualifying standings.
In the boys’ 13U Division, it was Cincy Royals 2023 Elite (Ohio) that claimed the trophy, downing True Ohio 2023 White in the title game by the close score of 4-2. Cincy Royals 2023 Elite earned 120 qualifying points and has moved to 15th overall in the 13U qualifying standings.
Wrapping up the boys, in the 12U Division, Resolute 2024 (Ohio), currently ranked 13th in the qualifying standings, won the championship by beating HardCor 12U in a nailbiter of a final, 5-4, to earn 120 points.
On the girls’ side, the 14U Division saw Cardinal 2022 from Virginia overwhelm Triumph Select (Mich.), 14-0, in the final to take home the Grail title. Cardinal earned 130 qualifying points to move to first overall in the standings.
In the 12U Division, Cincy Royals 2024 (Ohio) was a comprehensive winner, beating Velocity MS (Ohio) for the trophy, 12-3. The Royals earned 115 points and now sit fifth in the 12U qualifying standings.
What Might the Nationals Field Look Like?
With slightly more than one month until all of the six divisional gold-medal games on Aug. 5 are streamed live on US Lacrosse social media properties, spots in the US Lacrosse Nationals largely remain up for grabs. Seven qualifier tournaments remain, meaning teams still have opportunities to break into, or out of, the top 16 in each age division.
Two spots were grabbed last year, however. The Yellow Jackets (N.Y.) won the 13U Division and Igloo (N.Y.) won the 12U Division on the girls’ side in Richmond, Va., a year ago. Not only did those squads take home gold medals, they earned automatic invitations to this year’s Nationals in the next highest age group. Expect much of the same rosters from each team to return and compete for a second straight US Lacrosse national championship, this time in 14U for the Jackets and in 13U for Igloo.
Keeping in mind that sometimes there can be a lag time between the end of a qualifier and the upload of qualification points in Tourney Machine, as of this writing the Cardinal 2022 Red (Va.) girls have earned 430 points. That ranks first not only in the 14U Division, but in all six divisions overall. The Northern Virginians bolstered their prospects by winning NXT’s Grail Tournament last weekend.
In the oldest age group for the boys, Seattle Starz 2022 (Wash.) has a slim lead over Team 24/7 (N.C.) as July gets underway.
Have a look at the current standings in each division below.
The Weekend Ahead
The qualifications standings (above) for the US Lacrosse Nationals are automated through Tourney Machine, and updated as scores from qualifying events are entered into the Tourney Machine platform. Lag times between the end of a given qualifier and entry of earned points may vary. Clubs wanting to earn points towards their bid for the US Lacrosse Nationals should register for a Tourney Team account.
The Grind (Ultimate Events and Sports) - Girls - Chester County, Pa.
NXT Cup (NXT) - Boys - Downingtown, Pa.