By Lily Belcher
The Under Armour All-America games, hosted in Baltimore, Maryland, selects the top 44 lacrosse student athletes in the country to play in the North vs. South game that was televised on ESPNU on July 31.
Athletes from North Carolina to Florida visited Tampa for tryouts. In scrimmage games, notable players were invited to play in the callback game for further evaluation and were then selected for the South Region team.
Newsome High School had the privilege of sending two of their lacrosse athletes to the game before the start of the 2021-22 school year: Luke Haley and Samantha Swanovich.
Senior Haley began playing lacrosse in first grade with the FishHawk Coyotes. His 12 years of practice through travel leagues and school teams paid off during his tryouts for the All-America games, but Haley credits his success to his high school coach, Eric Blackburn, and travel team director, Kevin Martin.
“To be on this team is a great honor,” the midfielder and attacker said. “I get to represent my high school and club programs and get to play the game I love.”
Blackburn said Haley is a hard worker and is constantly looking for improvement. His passion for the game and effort he has put in has paid off, according to Blackburn.
Haley is committed to the University of Utah, where he will play Division I lacrosse.
Samantha Swanovich, a junior at Newsome, also earned a spot in the games with the help of her parents and coaches.
“It was very cool to meet new people that became my teammates and I loved being able to play with people that I haven’t played with before,” said Swanovich.
Swanovich said she appreciates the opportunity to connect with other players and calls the teammates she has played with her second family.
Despite not having coached her personally, Blackburn saw Swanovich’s talent and devotion on the field.
“I know Sam,” he said. “I know she’s a hard worker. I’ve known the girls’ coaches and I know everyone speaks highly of her.”
Swanovich said she hopes to play Division I in college as well and is still going through the recruiting process.
For more information on the Under Armour All-America games, visit underarmourlacrosse.com.