With competitive games played over the final three days and June 30 used for opening ceremonies and team practices, the event featured about 1,900 high school girls and boys from throughout the country representing their respective regions while giving them an opportunity to play for a national championship.
Lacrosse coaches selected the top-ranked high school and middle school athletes following evaluations at Brine regional tryouts held across the nation. Regional tryout sites included locations in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New England, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Local middle school male athletes joining Laufer at the event were Neal Brown, Jack Dennehy, Kyle and Andrew Light, Griffin Marchese, Zack Pacheco, Nathaniel Raeder and Wyatt Staggs. Participating high school boys included Kyle Banks, Matt Chase, Cole Davidson, Josh Dolan, Sky Dupree, Sam Hamilton, Jonathan Lipman, Pierce Smith, Trevor Stuart and Jonathan Wood.
Local middle school and high schools girls at the event were Daryl Ann Coss, Megan Lilly, Mary Markwordt, Ansley McCoy and Hannah Sacristan.
The Classic offered these and other select players the chance to showcase their skills against some of the best competition in the nation in front of NCAA lacrosse coaches from every division.
“My summer team coach mentioned the tryouts to my mom,” Laufer said of his introduction to the Classic. “He thought me and some of my teammates had potential, so I went and tried out.”
A close defender and long-stick midfielder at Walker, Laufer was one of roughly 30 to 40 defenders in his age group at the tryout in Roswell. He made the team of sixth through eighth-graders despite having only played lacrosse for a year and a half.
“I played football, but some of my friends were playing lacrosse, so I tried it and liked it,” said the 5-foot-9-1/4 Laufer, who played tight end and middle linebacker in middle school at Walker. “It’s like a combination of football, basketball and soccer. It has all of the elements from those sports. It’s fast, you’re always moving and you don’t get bored. It’s not about one player; everybody contributes to the team’s success.
“I was pretty excited to make the team. It was a great accomplishment given the amount of time I’ve been playing.”
Grouped in with the other middle school boys from Georgia, Laufer and his teammates didn’t get to practice together until meeting up in Maryland on June 30. They lost to Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. during pool play, but beat Florida 11-6 on the final day to finish 1-4 overall.
“We played two games each day to set up our ranking and then we played Florida on that last day,” Laufer said. “We were coached by some of the best coaches colleges have to offer and did drills they teach their players.
“We practiced for an hour and a half each day before our games. That was the toughest part because the chemistry wasn’t there going into those games and it showed.”
Despite the team’s poor performance, Laufer managed to get a lot out of the experience.
“I feel like I’ve become a more fundamentally sound player,” he said. “Just picking up on those little things that make the difference in being the best player I can be.”