King of Spring Classic features top talent

Calvert Hall (Md.) and Ryan Brown kick off the 2012 season at the Brine King of the Spring Face-off Classic. Donald Obrecht/ESPNHS

Ryan Brown is a Johns Hopkins commit with offensive skills to spare and a spot in the ESPNHS 100, but even with all the accolades and praise, Brown still has to earn his spot on the Calvert Hall (Baltimore) starting attack line.

That’s how good the Cardinals are.

With 15 Division I commits and four D-III commits filling out its roster, Calvert Hall is as stacked as any team in the nation. It has four players ranked in the ESPNHS 100 -- including Brown (59) and Patrick Kelly (3) and is the No. 1 team in the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings.

If the Cardinals hope to stay there and finish the year No. 1, they’re going to have to get off to a good start at the Brine King of the Spring Face-off Classic.

“Nothing is going to be handed to you on this team,” Brown said. “Every day you have to earn what you’re going to get. If you don’t work hard in practice, you’re going to get pulled because we have enough talent to do that this year.”

Calvert Hall is one of the 21 teams from seven states competing in the third annual interstate lacrosse showdown being played in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area from March 9-12. The Cardinals face Georgia state semifinalist Lovett (Atlanta, Ga.) and Texas state semifinalist St. Mark’s (Dallas, Texas) in its second.

That’s not exactly the easiest way to kick off a season. But the Cardinals are excited for the competition.

“Both of the teams we’re playing have a lot of talent, so we’ll have a good idea of where we are pretty early on,” Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly said. “This will be our first live action of the year and we’re going to be playing against teams that will have been playing for a while, so it should be a good challenge for us.”

It will also be a challenge for the other schools competing. Calvert Hall isn’t the only one with talent.

Lovett features returning All-American attackman Cory Palmer. In Lovett’s game against the Cardinals, Palmer and Cardinals defender Evan Connell, who is the No. 50 ranked player in the ESPNHS 100, will battle on the offensive end of the field.

Other star players competing include Norfolk Academy (Va.) All-American defender David Best, ranked No. 31 in the ESPNHS 100, and Rockhurst Jesuit (Kansas City) All-American midfielder Peter Muelenbach.

But nobody has it quite as good as Calvert Hall.

They have three North Carolina commits (Kelly, Connell and Stephen Kelly), three Towson commits (Brian Bolewicki, Tyler Mayes, Reece Bartell), two Johns Hopkins commits (Kelton Black and Brown), two Ohio State commits (Carter Brown, John Kelly), one Norte Dame commit (Garrett Epple), one Maryland commit (John Belz) and more than a half dozen other college-bound players.

Their defense (Connell, Epple and Mayes), midfield (Black, Bolewicki, Belz, John Kelly and Stephen Kelly) and attack (Patrick Kelly, Ryan Brown and Carter Brown) are comprised entirely of D-I recruits and most of the backups are going to play at big-time schools too.

No wonder Ryan Brown is worried about his spot.

“We’re backed up at every position with talent,” Brown said. “We’re definitely capable of going undefeated and we’re not expecting anything less.”

With a roster that deep and talented, they shouldn’t.

King of the Spring Face-off Classic Schedule

Friday, March 9

At Duke

Norfolk Academy (Norfolk, Va.) vs. Charlotte Country Day (Charlotte, N.C.), 6 p.m.

Charlotte Latin (Charlotte, N.C.) vs. Blue Ridge School (St. George, Va.), 8 p.m.


Durham Academy (Durham, N.C.) vs. Christ School (Asheville, N.C.), 2:15 p.m.

Rockhurst Jesuit (Kansas City, Mo.) vs. Lambert (Suwanee, Ga.), 4 p.m.

Lovett School (Atlanta, Ga.) vs. St. Anne’s-Belfield (Charlottesville, Va.), 6 p.m.

Christchurch School (Va.) v. Providence Day School (Charlotte, N.C.), 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 10

At Cardinal Gibbons High School

St. Anne’s Belfield vs. St. Mark’s (Dallas, Texas), 2 p.m.

Broughton (Raleigh, N.C.) vs. Christchurch (Va.), 4 p.m.

Apex (N.C.) vs. Lambert, 6 p.m.

Cardinal Gibbons (Raleigh, N.C.) vs. McCallie (Chattanooga, Tenn.), 8 p.m.

At Duke

Christ School vs. Rockhurst Jesuit, 10 a.m.

Charlotte Latin (Charlotte, N.C.) vs. East Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, N.C.), 3:30 p.m.

Norfolk Academy vs. Providence Day (Charlotte, N.C.), 5:30 p.m.

Highland Park (University Place, Texas) vs. Charlotte Country Day, 7:30 p.m.


Lovett School vs. Calvert Hall, Noon

R.J. Reynolds (N.C.) vs. Blue Ridge School, 2 p.m.

St. Christopher's School (Va.) vs. Ravenscroft School (Raleigh, N.C.), 4 p.m.

Sunday, March 11

At Duke

St. Mark’s vs. Calvert Hall, 10 a.m.

Highland Park vs. Christchurch, Noon


Charlotte Country Day vs. Rockhurst Jesuit, 10 a.m.

Christ School (N.C.) vs. McCallie, Noon

Monday, March 14

Highland Park at Ravenscroft, 5 p.m.

St. Mark’s at Durham Academy, 4 p.m.

ESPNHS lacrosse editor Mike Loveday will be covering the tournament. Check the site for daily recaps and leading scorers. Follow ESPNHS Lacrosse on Twitter @ESPNMike for updates during the games.