By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 12/30/18
Drew Wheeler said competing in the Brogden Cup this week was the perfect reward for a successful reunion of North Carolina lacrosse players.
Wheeler and his teammates represented Team USA in the U15 division of the Brogden Cup against Canada on Wednesday through Friday at the University of Tampa. The USA squad was comprised of mostly 2022 players, all from North Caroline, that won the Middle School championship during the summer at the Maverik National Lacrosse Classic, run by Legacy Global. The Carolina team did not disappoint as Team USA< finishing the three-game series vs. Canada with a win (11-6), a tie (9-9) and a heartbreaking 8-7 loss in the finale on Friday.
“Representing the USA U15 and playing Canada was insane,” said Wheeler, a freshman goalie at Fuquay-Varina High School (N.C.). “To think how hard we worked and far we had to come to get here and how much fun it was to play against Canada – and to even win a game, it was an insane experience.”
In all, Canada won the team championship since its U19 boys and U17 girls each swept three games. The Brogden Cup is a historical and meaningful lacrosse event promoting international fellowship between the United States of America and Canada. The competition is named for H. McCullough Brogden, who was a member of the 1932 and 1933 Johns Hopkins University teams and the 1932 Olympic team that was a preview of the top U19 lacrosse players in North America.
“I think it did live up to expectations,” said Wheeler, who plays club lacrosse for the FV Goblins and Carolina Team91. “I expected Canada to be really good and they really use their strong hands to pass and they take good shots. They had some snipe shots in the corner.”
Wheeler and Bryce Ledwith (2023 from Raleigh, N.C.) split the goaltending duties.
“I think we were well prepared for this and after we won won first game they came at us,” said Wheeler.
“I will always be able to look back and know I had on a USA helmet and a USA uniform. This helps me believe I can do something better; maybe one day I can be a professional on that (USA) team.”
Wheeler said that facing Team Canada can only help his confidence as he begins his high school career.
“I know this experience will hep me in high school,” he said. “I have seen here probably some of the best shots I will ever see. Seeing the different style they play will help me be prepared for high school.”
Team USA’s Josh Arneson (2022 defenseman from Holly Springs) was the one member of the team that had the rare distinction of playing in his second Brogden Cup. Last year Team USA swept Canada and also won an exhibition against an All-Star team from Florida at the event. Arneson was the youngest player on the USA squad last year; this year he embraced the role of the veteran leader.
“It felt really cool; I also played last year in the Brogden Cup and my (older) brother (Noah), also played last year with us,” said Arneson. “I was the youngest guy on the team last year and since I was one of the oldest this year they look up to you and try to play off your energy. I tried to be hyped up and serve as a good example.”
Arneson said the team camaraderie was something he’ll remember most.
“Honestly, the most fun part was before the second game when we were in the locker room and Xander (Craven) had a huge speaker,” he said. “We were blasting the music and jumping around and having a good time, yelling and just messing around.”
Arneson praised Team Canada for its offensive skills.
“They run off-ball cuts upside through the middies,” he said. “You have to be physical because they always make a good pass.”
Midfielder Nathan Nicholas, a 2022 from Apex, was one of the team’s offensive standouts. He said Canada had remarkable stick skills.
“It was really fun to play them,” he said. “They cut a lot and if you turn your head you get beat. Their stick skills are amazing and how they handle the ball and how fast they move it is also amazing. All the games were good games. “I think our team meshed well.
“I felt pride playing for my country. It was very special to play with a ‘USA’ on your chest and helmet. Going to Tampa and seeing the university and hanging out with the guys was amazing.”
Team USA Boys’ U15
First Name Last Name City State School Graduation Year Position
Joshua Arneson Holly Springs North Carolina 2022 D
Reid Barden Wilmington North Carolina 2022 A
James Cardillo Apex North Carolina 2023 M/A
Caden Castle Fuquay Varina North Carolina 2022 A
Nicholas Castro Chapel Hill North Carolina 2022 A
Xander Craven Franklinville North Carolina 2022 A
Jake Dunn Morrisvile North Carolina 2022 M
Kenan Everhart Carolina Beach North Carolina 2023 M
Breyden Harrison Apex North Carolina 2022 M/A
Jack Isacco Raleigh North Carolina 2022 D
Coleman Kraske Wake Forest North Carolina 2022 FOGO
Bryce Ledwith Raleigh North Carolina 2023 G
Zach Mansfield Cary North Carolina 2022 LSM/D
Nathan Nicholas Apex North Carolina 2022 M
Patrick Noone Greensboro North Carolina 2022 D
Thomas Parkes wilmington North Carolina 2022 M/A
Harper Pennington Raleigh North Carolina 2022 D
Luke Popow Holly Springs North Carolina 2022 M
Maverick Shotwell Raleigh North Carolina 2022 LSM
Beck Sutton Marvin North Carolina 2022 A
Dustin Wagner wilmington North Carolina 2022 M
Drew Wheeler Fuquay-Varina North Carolina 2022 G
Kavin Wood Cary North Carolina 2022 M