DATES FOR 2023

  • ALL DIVISIONS

  • 2024-2030

  • JUNE 26-28, 2023

PRESS RELEASE

Champions crowned in seven age groups at 2022 Naptown National Challenge, which just keeps getting bigger and better

July 7, 2022

Marching steadily toward its first decade of existence, the Naptown National Challenge, presented by Lexus, continues to grow and develop.

Professionally managed by Legendary Sports Group (LSG) and HoganLax, the elite showcase event just gets bigger and better with more teams, more fields, more exposure and more improvements.

This year's event also marked the first-ever Naptown Challenge All-Star game, presented by O2 Sports Insurance, featuring nominated players from 2024 teams competing at Naptown. 

The seventh-annual Naptown National Challenge attracted 190 teams representing 29 states, the District of Columbia and several regions of Canada. Because of the competition among the most nationally recognized club programs in North America makes becoming a champion of this tournament a tremendous accomplishment and worthy of bragging rights.

While the Naptown National Challenge is still based in Annapolis, the geographic diversity of the tournament has increased to include Anne Arundel, Howard and Queen Anne’s counties.

This year, games were held at Annapolis High, Blandair Regional Park, Bell Branch Park, Davidsonville Park, Kent Island High, South River High and Troy Park.

“We were very pleased with the organization and management of the seven different sites that hosted large numbers of teams and a lot of games,” said Matt Hogan, founder of HoganLax. “This tournament is a massive undertaking, and what makes everything run so smoothly is the seamless partnership between HoganLax and Legendary Sports Group.”

Seven champions – four at the high school level (2023, 2024, 2025, 2026) and three at the youth level (2027, 2028, 2029) – were crowned. All four high school finals were held at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and broadcast on ESPN networks.

A pair of Annapolis Hawks entries (2023, 2028) secured titles at their hometown tournament. MadLax Nationals, based in McLean, Virginia, also had two champs (2025, 2029). Other winners were Long Island-based Legacy TAZ (2024), New Jersey-based BBL National (2027) and Sweetlax Navy, a combination of players from upstate New York and Florida.

A new addition this year was the Naptown Challenge All-Star Game, presented by O2 Sports Insurance and held at South River High. Featuring players from the Class of 2024, the All-Star game was broadcast by LaxSportsNet and provided increased exposure for the rising juniors who can be contacted by college coaches beginning September 1.

Once again, the Naptown National Challenge proved to be a major showcase event with almost 280 college coaches in attendance to scout the impressive array of talent.

Hogan and Legendary Sports Group president Dave Cottle were pleased to see the three youth divisions expand significantly this year. Cottle said the competition across the board was the most intense he’s seen in seven years.

“This was the strongest, deepest field ever assembled for the Naptown National Challenge,” Cottle said. “It remains clear that this is a signature event of the summer lacrosse season with the best of the best making their way to Annapolis to participate and enjoy all the amenities and attractions this area offers teams and fans alike.”

Following is a recap of the seven championship games.

Annapolis Hawks midfielder Gavin Burlace prepares to fire a shot during the 2023 championship game.

2023

Attackman Nick Golini led a balanced offense, while goalie Kasey Heath anchored a stingy defense as the Annapolis Hawks defeated Next Level Blue 9-8 in the Class of 2023 championship game.

Golini, a rising senior at St. Mary’s High, scored three goals and assisted another as the Hawks built a 9-5 lead then held off a late rally by Next Level. Heath, who plays at Kent Island High, was spectacular at times in totaling 11 saves and energized his teammates by running end-to-end to score a goal.

Attackman Jacob Todd scored a goal and dished off three assists for the Hawks. The Princeton commit delivered back-to-back helpers to midfielders Jake Bullen and Erik Chick (Johns Hopkins) to give the Hawks a four-goal lead early in the fourth quarter.

Next Level, based in D.C., would not go away and scored three goals in the span of three minutes to get within one. Midfielder Ben Jose scored his second goal of the game with 2:37 remaining to make it 9-8, and the visiting team had all the momentum.

However, Justin Webber won the ensuing faceoff, and the Hawks were able to salt away the rest of the clock to escape with the win.

It was the second Naptown National Challenge championship for Annapolis Hawks 2023, which had reached the finals four years in a row.

Midfielder Jon Luke Duley scored two goals, while attackman Seamus Regan had a goal and an assist for Next Level.

Legacy TAZ attackman Liam Kershis dodges during the 2024 championship game.

2024

Midfielder Alexander Kershis scored two goals and assisted on another as Legacy TAZ repeated as Class of 2024 champs by beating True IL Premier 10-7. Midfielder Matthew McIntee also scored two goals, while Liam Kershis scored a goal and dished off two assists.

Defenseman Jake Anzelone was a force all over the field and scored two goals, one in transition off a wicked crank shot and another after scooping a loose ball in the offensive zone.

Midfielder Jake Martini scored point blank from the crease off a beautiful feed by attackman Stephen Rosano to give Legacy TAZ an 8-3 lead after three quarters.

However, midfielder Liam White scored two goals to spark a 4-0 run that got True IL Premier within one. However, Alexander Kershis fed McIntee for a goal on the doorstep then scored himself off an overhand crank shot to seal the win.

Goalies Chase McCarthy and Caiden Lung recorded seven and six saves, respectively for Long Island-based Legacy TAZ, which is coached by Tom Zummo. Neco Cottage and Madden Murphy combined to control the faceoffs throughout the tournament. Long stick midfielder Tyler Eye of Legacy Taz  was a force on ground balls and clearing the ball. Midfielder Aiden Weisenborn also scored two goals for True Premier, which represents Illinois.

Members of the MadLax Nationals pose with the trophy after capturing the 2025 championship.

2025

Attackman Charlie Ball’s second goal of the game in sudden death overtime gave MadLax Nationals a thrilling 8-7 victory over Annapolis Hawks in the Class of 2025 final.

Attackman Sean Murray spotted Ball cutting to the crease and delivered a perfectly timed pass right into his stick for an easy finish. Murray, the offensive quarterback operating behind the net, finished with two assists.

Midfielder Caden Southworth also scored two goals for MadLax, which rallied from a four-goal deficit over the last two quarters. Long stick midfielder Harrison Wheeler was very active between the lines, took faceoffs and totaled a goal and an assist.

Goalie Connor Pinto was spectacular at times in making 11 saves and kept MadLax in the contest early on. Faceoff specialist Talan Smith was strong throughout the tourney. Ben Boyer and Zakkary Chesteen were the top cover defensemen.

MadLax went 7-0, making comebacks in three of those wins. Coach Harrison Holak cited the team’s lockdown defense and powerful transition game as the keys to success.

Holak said the core of this 2025 squad has been together since the third grade. Most of the players are members of the MadLax Capital club, so the chemistry is impressive.

Attackman Joey Matassa split a double team to get open for a bounce shot that gave the Hawks a 5-1 lead early in the third quarter. However, MadLax closed that period on a 4-0 run to tie the score.

It was back-and-forth in the fourth quarter with Matassa feeding attackman Matthew Beachley for a goal that tied the score 7-7 with 2:37 remaining.

Matassa finished with a goal and four assists, while Beachley scored three goals for the Hawks. Attackman Timmy Sullivan totaled two goals and an assist.

 

2026

Midfielder Avery Valenti was a force in scoring three goals to lead Sweetlax Navy in a 9-6 defeat of Annapolis Hawks in the Class of 2026 championship game.

Midfielder Jaxon Leonard scored two goals and added an assist for the winners, which consisted of a combination of Sweetlax teams from Florida and upstate New York.

Midfielder Christopher Doshna scored both his goals down the stretch as Sweetlax closed the contest with a 4-0 run.

Speedy midfielder Dominic Markovich scored three goals and assisted another for the Hawks, who controlled the action for most of the first half. Sweelax head coach Rick Sowell thought a buzzer-beating goal by attackman Cayden Claflin uplifted his team going into halftime.

Midfielder Carson Bair scored an extra-man goal from close range off a great inside feed from attackman Brady Mollot to give the Hawks a 6-5 lead early in the fourth quarter. Mollot, whose father Mike is head coach of the Hawks, contributed a goal and an assist.

This was the Sweetlax “national” team for rising ninth graders, and this was only their second tournament together. Sowell said Sweetlax showed dramatic improvement, evidenced by beating two teams it lost to in the previous tournament by a combined score of 30-4.

“All credit to the players. Their level of execution was outstanding. The way they moved the ball, particularly in transition, was very impressive,” said Sowell, who was a successful Division I head coach at St. John’s, Stony Brook and Navy.

SweetLax long stick midfielder Owen DeGraff defends Annapolis Hawks midfielder Drew Ringgold.

 

2027

Midfielder Brandon Fodor totaled two goals and two assists, while midfielder Derek Sabel added two goals and an assist as BBL National beat Team PA 10-6 in the Class of 2027 championship game.

Sabel set the tone throughout the final with strong, physical play between the lines, and he was a force on ground balls, earning the Offensive MVP honor. John Fodor spearheaded a suffocating defense that made it difficult for Team PA to get open shots.

Goalie Brendan Whitely notched six saves for BBL National, which went 6-1 in the tournament. Nicholas Lagunowich and Matthew Good were other key figures on the offensive end.

“We played great team defense, cleared extremely efficiently and valued the ball on offense,” BBL National coach Peter Fusari said.

This BBL National squad has been together five years and traveled straight from Annapolis to Boyds, Maryland to compete in the World Series of Lacrosse with hopes of bringing a title back to New Jersey for the first time.

Annapolis Hawks attackman Gavin Carpenter drives from behind the goal during the 2028 championship.

2028

Attackman Blake Burgess scored four goals and dished off two assists as the Annapolis Hawks 2028 repeated as champs by beating BBL National 9-7.

Attackman Wyatt Hicks scored three goals, while midfielder Brooks Meushaw contributed a goal and an assist for the Hawks, which went 7-0 in the tournament. Midfielder Cooper Reid scored the other goal.

Evan Wilhote and Alonso Wallace combined to dominate the draws throughout the tournament, which head coach Scott Meushaw cited as the key to success.

“Those guys probably won 75 percent of faceoffs in every game. We played a lot of make-it, take-it lacrosse,” said Meushaw, a standout midfielder for Navy and 1998 academy graduate.

Goalie Luke Robinson recorded 10 saves in the championship game and was rock-solid throughout the tournament.

Brooks Meushaw was the catalyst of a midfield that pushes the ball hard from offense to defense as the Hawks score a considerable amount of goals in transition. Braylon Jones, Ethan Fish and Carter Moden are other key midfielders.

Vincent Berger is the lockdown defenseman for the Hawks, who always covers the opponent’s top attackman. Abe Barbrick and Mason Williams round out the close defense.

 

2029

Midfielder Jake Mobley scored a game-changing goal during an unsettled situation, and attackman Will O’Neill added a pair of extra-man tallies as MadLax Nationals defeated Team 91 LI Pride 7-4 in the Class of 2029 final.

Mobley finished with three goals to lead MadLax, while Ryder Collins dished off two assists.

Close defensemen Spencer Jones, Brody Patten and Caleb Arata spearheaded a unit that limited Team 91 to just one goal in the second half. With the contest tied at halftime, MadLax took control thanks to the 3-0 run started by Mobley.

Mobley and fellow midfielder Ryan Arata controlled the faceoffs and were also the catalysts offensively, constantly pushing the ball upfield. Bradley Barnes was another midfielder who was a workhorse between the lines, gobbling up ground balls and serving as a force on clears.

MadLax was without standout attackman Benny Neverosky due to an injury. However, the unit consisting of O’Neill, Collins and Boden Shipp picked up the slack. Coach Jude Collins praised that unit for riding hard and causing turnovers that led to second-chance opportunities.

MadLax went 6-0 in the tournament, outscoring the opposition 53-21. Collins, a standout midfielder at North Carolina in the 1990s, said the most exciting contest came against True National, which MadLax had beaten by just one goal in pool play.

The anticipated rematch came in the semifinals, and MadLax fought back from a late two-goal deficit to tie the game at the end of regulation. Midfielder Ryan Arata scored the game-winning goal in overtime after long stick midfielder Blake Conklin intercepted an attempted clearing pass.

Goalie Nate Barnes came up big for MadLax throughout the tournament, stealing numerous goals with spectacular saves.

2023 Championship

Next Level Blue vs. Annapolis Hawks

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2023 CHAMPIONS: ANNAPOLIS HAWKS

2024 Championship

True IL Premier vs. Legacy Taz

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2024 CHAMPIONS: LEGACY TAZ

2025 Championship

Madlax Nationals vs. Annapolis Hawks

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2025 CHAMPIONS: MADLAX NATIONALS

2026 Championship

Annapolis Hawks vs. Sweetlax Navy

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2026 CHAMPIONS: SWEETLAX FLA

2027 Championship

Team PA vs BBL National

2027 CHAMPIONS: BBL NATIONAL

2028 Championship

Annapolis Hawks vs BBL National

2028 CHAMPIONS: ANNAPOLIS HAWKS

2029 Championship

Madlax Nationals vs Team 91 NY LI Pride

2029 CHAMPIONS: MADLAX NATIONALS

2022 Tournament Dates

Divisions 2023 - 2026: June 27 - 29, 2022

Divisions 2027 - 2029: June 27 - 29, 2022

First-Ever Naptown All-Star Game

Presented by O2 Sports Insurance

Tuesday, June 28th

The Inaugural O2 All-Star Game for the class of 2024 players will be played at South River High School on Tuesday, June 28th at 7:30pm. This is not a ticketed event, access is complimentary. The game will also be broadcast live on LaxSportsNet. Come watch the competition!

CLICK HERE FOR ROSTERS

2022 All Division Seeds