As first reported by Florida Lacrosse News, IMG head coach Mark Burnam is no longer with the program. Matt Kerwick will take over as the Ascenders head coach.
Burnam had served on the IMG lacrosse coachng stagg since 2015, serving as head coach since 2016 when he took over for Bill Shantz. Burnamn has a wealth of lacrosse expierence, playing for Syracuse in college and having an 11-year NLL career with the Buffalo Bandits. He has also played and been the head coach of the Iroqoius Nationals. It was that connection that many accredited to players like Tehoka Nanticoke ending up at IMG.
Matt Kerwick will take over the head coaching duties at IMG after formerly being the director of lacrosse. Kerwick himself has a lot of coaching expierence, serving as the head coach at Cornell from June of 2014 until after the 2017 season.
IMG’s natioal team began their season last weekend with a 17-9 win over Highland Park (Texas) on Saturday. Their next game tonight. IMG will be on the road against Westminster School (Conn.). The Ascenders were ranked 19th in the Inside Lacrosse national high school Preseason rankings.
IMG’s Director of College Entrance Exam Prepration was among the 50 named in the college admission scandal today. It is unclear if Burnam’s departure is related at all.
Mercer has gotten a commitment from 2020 attackman Cameron Welch out of Ponte Vedra (FL)/ SweetLax. The 6-foot-0, 195 pound attackman is just the third player to commit to Mercer in the 2020 class, and the first attackman.
Welch is a natural scorer and can get it done with his feet set outside as well as inside on the crease. He has good vision and uses it when cutting to the cage or looking for someone to dish the ball to for an assist. Welch can be a threat various places on the field and most certainly on the wings and in front of the cage.
One of the great attributes to Welch’s game is his hustle and motor. He plays an aggressive style of lacrosse and it shows. He can ride and cause a fast break opportunity for his team as well as just hustle to the end line after a wide shot. Welch can also get those gritty ground balls when needed.
As the third player to commit to Mercer in the 2020 recruiting cycle Welch joins Mill Creek (GA) defenseman Logan Tucker and Dublin Jerome (OH) defenseman Zach Dubois.
Junior attackman Connor Davies out of Oxbridge Academy (FL)/ Sweet Lax has committed to Providence. Davies is the eight player to commit to Providence in the 2020 class, and the second attackman to do so.
The 5-foot-8 146 pound attackman was previously committed to Fairfield before decommitting last April.
Davies is a very good passer as he is able to rack up assist with crisp passes from various spots on the field. As a shooter Davies is able to find the back of the cage from up top, out on the wings, or behind the cage at X. He is a pretty good dodger that can beat his man and get inside. Dodging from X Davies is able to get to the island and create, whether that be with his shooting or passing ability.
Providence now had eight players committed in the 2020 class with Davies. He is just the second 2020 attackman to commit as he will join Brendan Driscoll out of the Pingree School (MA).
The high school lacrosse season is on the horizon and this season there are some very good teams across the country that will be very competitive not only in their state or region, but nationally as well. Of course some of the traditional powers will be on this list, but there are also some teams that the casual fan might not know all the much about.
*Note: List is in no particular order.*
Culver Military Academy (IN)
Culver has been one of the most dominant high school teams in the country for the better part of about a decade or so. They always have some of the best players from the US and Canada on their team and Coach Posner does a great job of coaching them up and getting all that talent to play as one unit. Being a Military boarding school helps with that as well I should say. This season the Eagles have 19 current division one commits and more to come on this 2019 squad. This team has future pro’s at every position and it will be very hard for any team to stop them. After watching Culver about four times last season and seeing what they have back, I honestly think this may be the best Culver team we have seen to date.
The Hill Academy (ON)
The Hill Academy out of Ontario has won the first two Geico High School Lacrosse Nationals. Each year Hill get’s more talent and keeps getting better. The Merrill’s have built something special with the Hill Academy and that just keeps on continuing. With 13 current Division one commits on their roster the Hill looks just as good as ever. Just like many other sports centric prep schools they have future college stars and pro’s all over the place and they are going to win and win a lot. No doubt about that. I honestly can’t wait to see how this Hill team has improved with some of their younger studs back from last year.
IMG Academy (FL)
Yeah, it was a shaky year for IMG in 2018 as they didn’t have near the amount of success they were looking for. Fortunately for the Ascenders they have a lot of talent back, as expected of a school like IMG, and they are looking to rebound. With 11 players currently committed to play Division One lacrosse IMG will be competitors on the national stage again this season, and hopefully improve a lot from last year.
The prep school out of Connecticut has pro and Division one talent all up and down the field. The Crimson Knights do lose a lot of great players from last season, but they return just as much talent as they lost with 20 players currently committed to play Division One lacrosse. Salisbury looks to be right up there again this season competing for a national championship along with the rest of the big boys as usual. They will be led by senior midfielder and Duke commit Connor Drake, amongst others.
Calvert Hall (MD)
Calvert Hall is a perennial power in the MIAA and always have a lot of talent, even though they graduated a slew of seniors in 2018. The Cardinals are coming off of two straight MIAA A conference championship’s and have a ton of talent back, as always. The Cardinals are led by 2019 Ohio State commits midfielder Grant Mitchell and defenseman Jacob Snyder.
Ponte Vedra (FL)
The Sharks look to be the favorites to win it all in Florida this year as they have one of the best teams in the country and play a pretty tough schedule as well with teams like Calvert Hall (MD), Episcopal Dallas (TX), and others on the schedule. The Sharks will be led by junior midfielders Dylan Hess who is committed to Georgetown and Carter Parlette who is a Notre Dame commit, as well as a whole host of other player heading to DI schools.
A power in the south McCallie is loaded with talent this season just as they have been in the past as well. Head Coach Troy Kemp and the Blue Tornado feature eight current DI commits this season. They are for sure the favorite in Division I in Tennessee this season. They are led by senior defenseman Cam Henry who is heading to Duke, senior midfielder and Ohio State commit Eli Ensor. as well as junior midfielder’s Carter Henry who is heading to Yale and Rutgers commit Ellison Burt-Murray.
Episcopal School of Dallas (TX)
The Eagles have a new coaching staff and a boat load of talent coming into this 2019 season. Many have already said that there is no doubt that Episcopal Dallas (TX) will be in the state championship this season. They will be led by one of the best defenses in the country with senior’s Scott Bower who is heading to Virginia and Ohio State commit Carson Raney.
Torrey Pines (CA)
Regional and national powerhouse Torrey Pines is back and looking to be great again this season with another very tough national schedule. The Falcons have a lot of talent as always and will be led by senior midfielder Michael Mines who is committed to Ohio State, as well as many other DI commits.
After winning the IAC championship in 2018 Bullis looks to repeat as they return some great talent on both sides of the ball. They will be led by junior midfielder and Jacksonville commit Immanuel Brown, as well as senior attackman Robert Schain who is headed to Penn.