The 2012 FHSAA season will be very exciting and unpredictable. The ranks of FHSAA sanctioned teams have swollen by over 50 percent. In 2011 there were 98 teams and this season there will be an incredible 148 teams competing for the 2012 State Championship. This unprecedented growth was due to the long overdue move by the South Florida Independent League to merge into the FHSAA. When taking into account the way the championship bracket is likely to unfold, there will quite likely be one of these new FHSAA teams in the final four.
These are Lax.com's picks as the top team coming out of each bracket:
- The defending champions, Lake Highland Prep, lost a ton of talent to graduation but they
still have plenty of talent left to take them back. The Highlanders will be led by Davis Anderson (Salisbury),
a senior midfielder and a three year starter. He led the team in
ground balls for the past two seasons. Anderson will be lining
up with another senior three year starter, Malcolm Clayton. He was second to Anderson in GB's past two seasons. These
two continue to do the heavy lifting for the Highlanders. The top returning defensive player is Cody Prizer (U of Tampa), a
senior LSM and another three year starter Prizer is super athletic and should be huge in the middle of the field for LHP this year.
When you add the raw talent of Devon Lewis (Georgetown 2013) to the mix they will have plenty of speed. Lewis, who is only a junior,
has a ton or potential. He is certainly one of the young players to keep an eye on for the next couple of seasons.
Lake Highland will have to best several surging Central Florida programs to make it back to the semi-finals.
One of the top Central Florida contenders is Timber Creek, featuring Jake Rooney
(Hofstra), arguably the state's best attackman.
- Ponte Vedra made the final four last year with
a young team and is returning plenty of firepower to make it
back out of the North East region. Bolles and Episcopal are
looking to make solid runs this year, but Bolles should be a
little young and Episcopal will be better, but not ready to
knock of PV just yet. Players leading Ponte Vedra's run are
Brendan Francis A (Navy), Marcus Dunlap F/O M (Bucknell),
and Keenan Crosby D (Rollins). Between the pipes for Ponte Vedra is Connor
Peaks G (Delaware), a very elite level goal tender who will come up with unbelievable
saves and sharp outlet passes.
- Saint Andrews has won 18 State Championships and there is no reason to think that Coach
R.J. Dawson and director of lacrosse programs, Casey Powell, won't have them back in the mix again this
year. The St. Andrews list of players to watch this year is long. At the attack Connor Whipple (Georgetown
2013) will be doing plenty of scoring this season as well as
Jake Levine from Cold Harbor, NY. He is a Nike Blue Chipper
and is tough to defend. Senior Max Susskind (Princeton) and
junior Grant "Taco" Mahler (Cornell) will be tough to stop running
the midfield and VMI commit Zach Heard will help anchor the
defense. Of course, nobody gets the transfers like Saint Andrews and a couple of
kids coming in this year are sophomore Ben Kennedy and junior Andy Wheeler.
They will add plenty of depth at the midfield.
North Palm Beach
- The Benjamin School defeated Tampa Jesuit last year to win the State Club Lacrosse
Championship. These two teams have now joined the FHSAA and are very likely to meet in the quarterfinals
to determine who will advance to the final four.
Benjamin is not likely have enough to get past Saint Andrews in the Semi-
Finals, but they do have enough talent to make it interesting.
Like D-1 recruits defenseman Evan Wesselman (Fairfield)
and midfielder Robby Dattolo (Rutgers). Some other impact
players who are returning are junior midfielders Charlie
Nicklaus and Colby Kempe, junior attackman Robert Jacobs and senior attack Nick
Gardner as well as junior defenseman Philip Benz. They also feature a three year
starter in the goal, Ryan O'Hare.
Some of the Florida seniors to keep an eye on this season include:
Jake Rooney - Timber Creek (Hofstra), Accurate and powerful left handed shooter with a great ability to create space and release quick shots.
Brendan Francis - Ponte Vedra (Navy), Lightning fast attack with great instincts with the ball.
Max Susskind - Saint Andrews (Princeton), Scored 25 points last season and picked up 47 ground balls for Saint Andrews. Max is a solid player at both ends of the field.
Dylan Davis (F.O.) - Trinity Prep, (VMI), Was over 75% at the Face-Off X last season along with 57 goals and 165 ground balls.
Sergio Salcido - Winter Park, (Syracuse), Sergio is a fast player who can dictate the speed of the game. Dangerous on the transition and can create some serious match-up problems for his opponents.
Evan Wesselman, Palm Beach Gardens (Fairfield)
Wes Linxwiler, Boone HS, (Salisbury)
Conor Peaks, Ponte Vedra, (Delaware)
Our top juniors include a pair of Georgetown commits:
Devin Lewis, Lake Highland Prep - Amazing athlete with huge potential. He had 20 goals and 8 assists during his sophomore season. Devin is a player who must be accounted for whenever he is on the field.
Connor Whipple, Saint Andrews - Very balanced attacker with 51 goals and 47 assists last season as a sophomore.
Grant Mahler, Saint Andrews (Cornell) - Grant is a smooth player at both ends of the field and was a solid 66% at the Face-Off X during his sophomore outing.
Nick "Fuzzy" Martin, Boca Raton HS, (Delaware)