(From MarinIJ.com article)
Members of the USA California lacrosse team join members of a Chinese… (Provided by Trevor Jones)
BETWEEN fending off heat exhaustion, food poisoning, dehydration and the paparazzi, former Marin high school lacrosse standouts Charlie Dibble, Trevor Jones and Will Rushton managed to help lead the elite under-19 USA California Lacrosse national team to a 15-3 record over two tournaments in the Asian Pacific and satisfy autograph demands.
Dibble and Jones, who graduated from Redwood High this spring, and Rushton, a member of the San Marin High class of 2008, joined the USA California team traveling to Beijing – home of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games – on June 18 to compete in the inaugural China Ambition International Lacrosse Tournament, which featured teams from all over the Asian Pacific. USA California lost only one game in pool play – to the Lax Pats 8-5, a team assembled of Canadian national players, collegiate players from some of the top lacrosse programs in the country including Syracuse and Johns Hopkins and even former professional players.
“We had two players leave the game – one because of a broken wrist and one because of heat exhaustion,” said Dibble, who noted that players fought dehydration throughout the game. “And then it was pretty hard for me because I was covering a player who had played professionally for a couple of years.”
During the nights, local area teams hosted dinners and parties for USA California, including one event held at a rented out five-star hotel.
During the days, the team played multiple matches and, despite the team’s early loss to the Lax Pats, qualified for the championship match where it again faced off against the Lax Pats. The Lax Pats defeated USA California 11-9, netting USA California second place in the tourney.
“The championship game was ridiculous; it was basically like playing a bunch of pro football players,” Jones said. “They recruited the best players from other teams for that specific game because they were short-teamed, but we were short-teamed because of dehydration and injuries too and didn’t use players from the Japan national team.”
Rushton, who was hospitalized earlier for heat exhaustion, had been playing half of every game in the goal and was deemed healthy enough to play the entire championship game.
“The Lax Pats are assembled from the Canadian national team – they’re like full-grown men,” he said. “It was pretty awesome that the score was as close as it was.”
After spending five days in Beijing, complete with tours of the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Olympic Games venues, USA California traveled to Tokyo for four days to compete in the International Lacrosse Friendship Games on June 24.
The team played multiple 80-minute games every day – a demanding task compared to the single 48-minute games the former MCAL standouts were accustomed to. However, the team managed to win all but one game – a 10-7 loss to the under-19 Japan national team – before traveling to the island of Sapporo, Japan, for the last of the Friendship Games and final four days of the trip on June 27.
“Because we were playing (longer) quarters, we had to really slow down the pace of the game,” Dibble said. “We couldn’t play at full-speed like we can in high school games or we wouldn’t be able to make it.”
In Sapporo, the team stayed with host families and won all of its games. Highlights included a 14-6 victory over the area all-star team and a 16-7 upset victory over the Hokkaido national under-22 team where 300 people watched from the grandstands, eager for photos and autographs from USA California.
“Everyone (in Tokyo and Sapporo) was so respectful to us and the Japanese sportsmanship was on a whole different level,” said Jones, a midfielder. “They would pat us on the backs and help us up if they knocked us down. We were so tired when we were warming up and we would look over and they were just hollering and screaming and just so excited to play us. It was a huge event to them – every game there was a ton of people watching.”
On top of dominant performances in both the China Ambition International Tournament and the International Friendship Games, the USA California team was able to both show other national teams its American style of play and learn the Asian Pacific style.
“Originally, lacrosse was North American, so it was nice for us to go out and show (other national teams) how the game was played originally,” said Dibble, a defender. “Asian teams play very differently and even their older teams have only been playing a few years. I’ve played for nine years. I mean, the styles are just so different and it was great to be able to spread our experience and experience other types of play.”
At the conclusion of both tournaments, Dibble recorded minutes for the majority of every game at defense. Jones recorded enough minutes at center face-off middie to score “either 18, 19 or 20″ goals, and Rushton played at least half of every game at goalie, despite battling health-related issues for the entire span.
“One of the days in Beijing I got heat exhaustion because we were playing four games every day and I ended up in a hospital (getting intravenous fluid) and then I got food poisoning in Japan from a dish that was made with raw meat and raw egg – go figure – and then at the end of the trip I ended up getting the flu,” he said. “I’m just happy I made it onto the field to play.”
Dibble plans to continue playing on a club at Cal in the fall, while Jones plans to play on the UC Santa Barbara club squad. Rushton plans to keep an eye on four-year programs while playing in the area and attending Santa Rosa JC.
“We were like c-list celebrities when we went out there – we could go out there in our PJs and the fans would still want to take our pictures and get our autographs,” Rushton said. “And the players see us as authoritative figures. We had to set an example because they don’t even have high school lacrosse, so we played our hearts out because we’re proud of American lacrosse and how we play.”