05/22/2018 2:30 AM
My Lacrosse Tournaments hosted the first Run With The Best Carolina on Sunday, May 20 at Duke University in Durham, N.C. Players from the 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 graduation years participated in the event with coaches from Virginia, Navy, High Point, Jacksonville, Virginia Military, Wingate, Lees-McRae, Farmingdale State and William Peace on hand to coach the teams. Click here for a photo gallery from the event.
DURHAM, N.C. - After a play at the inaugural Run With The Best Carolina showcase at Duke University, Navy assistant coach Ryan Wellner pulled Ben Francis aside and quickly went over a coaching point with him.
On the next possession, the 2019 defenseman from Voorhees (N.J.) and the Team 91 Carolina Cannons smashed the ball out of an attackman's stick to cause a turnover for his team, and once the ball made its way down to the other end, Francis broke into a big smile.
It was hard to miss the 6-4, 185-pounder, who finished the day as one of the best players at the event. Francis has committed to Division III powerhouse Salisbury, and he very much looked the part of a high-level player against many of the South's elite players. He runs very well for his size and has a lanky frame that will allow him to pack on size at the next level.
As he showed after Wellner's coaching, he is quick to take the ball away from his opponents and has the versatility to play at both LSM and close defense. With most of the players hailing from North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, it was also surprising to see a New Jersey native make the long trek to Durham, but it's nothing new for Francis.
"My family eventually wants to move down here permanently, and my dad made a joke about it last summer, like, 'oh, Carolina Cannons, maybe you'll be playing in a Cannons jersey next year,' and we kind of realized that it could be a real possibility," said Francis, who regularly drives seven hours each way to come to practice. A great push for me was 91 taking over the Cannons. I know how much trouble 91 (Long Island) gave every other travel team in the country, so I think it upped the program a lot and it was a big contributing factor."
Sunday, it was Francis that was the major factor against his opponents.
Others Who Impressed at Run With The Best Carolina
Joey Annetta '21, D/LSM, Holly Springs (N.C.) / VLC - Highlights
Already checking in at 6-0, 170 pounds as a freshman, Annetta combines his size with impressive quickness between the lines and an ability to run the field well. He's not afraid to press out and apply pressure because he knows he can recover if he needs to, and he's got a frame that will allow him to gradually add size without slowing him down. Annetta also had a nice goal when he cleanly finished a pretty transition play.
Noah Arneson '20, D/LSM, Holly Springs (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina Cannons - Highlights
Watch Arneson at the start of the day or catch him at the end of a hot, muggy day, and one thing that will stand out is his ability to go 100 percent at all times. He's absolutely relentless and never lacking in effort. Arneson has decent size, runs well and has a good stick. On one play, he rocked his opponent's stick to cause a turnover and effortlessly scooped up the ground ball in one motion before running it down to his attackmen.
Gordon Guest '19, M, Broughton (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina Cannons / Navy - Highlights
There's a freight train coming through, so get out of the way. The future Midshipman bullied his way past players, splattering players as he sprinted by. He showed an ability to score as an alley shooter after initiating from up top and later added a beauty of a goal in transition where he weaved his way through traffic before finishing. He might be even better at the other end. Guest uses his 6-1, 185-pound frame, his athleticism and his physicality to intimidate other opposing midfielders. Navy associate head coach Ryan Wellner had to love what he saw from his commit on Sunday.
Ben Haugh '20, M, Broughton (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina Cannons
It's hard to miss Haugh in the midfield, as most middies aren't 6-2, 185 pounds as sophomores. Haugh uses his size to his advantage as a powerful downhill dodger, and he pairs his physical style with an excellent shot on the run. A top-level athlete, he loves to initiate contact, and he had a huge crank for an early goal that gave everyone a glimpse of his offensive upside.
Jarrett Huff '22, A, Holly Springs (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina Cannons
A small lefty, Huff is very crafty and displays an advanced lacrosse IQ, even for his young age. He showed great vision and smart off-ball cuts, constantly making himself a threat without the ball. He had a beauty of a goal when he blasted a shot off the goal's right elbow, and he flashed a good handle, particularly in traffic.
Nick McCluskey '19, M, Apex (N.C.)
Had there been an MVP award for the day, McCluskey might have taken it home. A good-sized midfielder at 6-1, 165 pounds, he combines above-average athleticism with a bit of offensive fair. On one early play, the righty ripped a shot off the goal's left elbow and in, and a bit later, he unloaded a lefty bardown rip. Not quite done yet, he had a play where he zipped a great cross-crease feed for an easy goal. He was one of the best, if not the best, offensive player in attendance.
Luke Pisani '22, M, The Benjamin School (Fla.) / Team 91 Florida
Pisani has an ideal frame for a midfielder, already checking in at 5-10 as an eighth grader with plenty of room to add size. He also has a strong initial burst and good athleticism, but he really makes his money with his shot. If he has time and room to step down, it's time for goalies to turn and rake. He packs a lot of power into his shot, and he polishes his game, could blossom into a big-time scoring middie.
Carter White '19, A, Apex (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina Cannons - Highlights.
He's not the biggest attackman out there, but White had a pretty deep bag of tricks up his sleeve at RWTB. A slippery waterbug type, he's able to get to his spot with relative ease, and he does a good job of dodging with his head up to find cutting teammates. He had a great early feed to the crease for an assist and racked up a handful of goals on the day. His last one might have been his best, where he rose above GLE, got top sude and cranked one bardown for a snipe that elicited oohs and aahs.
Jordan Dash '21, M, Jordan (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina Cannons
Noah DeLucia '19, M, Heritage (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina Cannons - Highlights.
Lars Hoeg '19, M, Northwood (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina Cannins
Reid Kerr '22, G, Dwyer (Fla.) / Team 91 Florida
Henry Koonce '22, D, East Chapel Hill (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina Cannons
Coleman Kraske '22, FO/M, Wakefield (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina Cannons
Brett Reynolds '20, FO/M, Chapel Hill (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina Cannons - Highlights.
Sam Salisbury '20, D, Middle Creek (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina Cannons
Corbin Switzer '21, D, Ravenscroft (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina Cannons
Noah Wilson '21. A, Jordan (N.C.) / Team 91 Carolina Cannons - Highlights.
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