3d Lacrosse, Harlem Lacrosse Partner For Strongest Summer Season Yet As Teams, Athletes Benefit From Consistent Development And Exposure
HARLEM, N.Y. — Harlem Lacrosse experienced its strongest summer on the club circuit yet thanks to another season of working with 3d Lacrosse to provide Harlem student-athletes with the best possible development and exposure path.
Through a partnership now in its fifth year, Harlem Lacrosse teams and athletes made their way to a variety of 3d Lacrosse-operated events and camps this summer for a dose of world-class training and the chance to compete in front of college coaches from all levels of play.
It kicked off with the annual Pomfret Bash, a one-day event held at the Pomfret School featuring a mix of 3d Lacrosse teams and different clubs from the region. The event was the first chance for the Harlem teams to get full-field runs together, according to Owen Van Arsdale, a Program Director with Harlem’s New York branch.
“We really got tested and got to play some of the best teams we’ve ever faced,” Van Arsdale said. “And it was the first time at the event where our group really competed and really looked like they belonged on the field as one of the top teams. We got beat in some games by a good amount, but we competed and our guys were making plays consistently on the field. That really was an awesome start to the summer for us.”
The Pomfret Bash put the Harlem teams alongside many of the 3d student-athletes they’ve been competing against on the field for several summers. That familiarity with 3d’s players and even some of 3d’s coaches has begun to have its own impact on the Harlem group.
“Our guys have so much overlap with the 3d players and the staff because we’re really concentrated with the 3d group during the summer,” Van Arsdale said.
“The overlap is awesome for our guys. They just have a really good time, especially because some of the kids who know each other from the circuit. With so many of them knowing each other, they feel comfortable and have a connection with the 3d group.”
That’s the idea, according to 3d Lacrosse CEO Greg Waldbaum. The 3d Lacrosse staff, including coaches on the East Coast and corporate staff in Colorado and beyond, has strived to create a complete experience for Harlem players each summer season, according to Waldbaum.
“With a busy summer packed full of different opportunities, 3d Lacrosse is providing Harlem Lacrosse with a reliable infrastructure for its club teams to receive high level instruction and to been seen by hundreds of college coaches along the way,” said Waldbaum, who joined Harlem Lacrosse’s New York-based Advisory Board in 2017
“3d Lacrosse is a large organization with a tremendous amount to offer, and everyone from our coaches to our event staff has a hand in helping Harlem Lacrosse and Harlem student-athletes along their journey.”
After the Pomfret Bash, Harlem players received a full dose of the 3d Methodology at a special training session featuring 3d Tri-State coaches at the Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, N.Y. Led by 3d Tri-State Director Chris Doctor and Manager Bryan Reinert, the day saw Harlem and 3d players training and learning side by side.
It was an important experience for both experienced and lesser-experienced Harlem athletes, according to staff members and even a Harlem alumnus who was on hand to add a new layer to the Harlem-3d relationship.
Abdoulaye Kebe, a member of the very first Harlem Lacrosse class and now a sophomore at The College of Wooster, was coaching with the 3d Tri-State staff while on break for the summer. Working with 3d Tri-State and Harlem athletes during the joint practice in Bedford, he found himself reflecting on his own experience and path. He recalled the importance of exposing Harlem athletes to the 3d coaches and players to give them different perspective on the game.
“I saw myself in those kids,” said Kebe, a graduate of Hebron Academy in Maine.
He recalled Harlem’s early training sessions and trips to 3d Lacrosse events and how important those were then and now for the Harlem players.
“Every time I remember when I was going to an event, I got a lot better, I learned a lot more. It comes with the experience of playing with other people outside of your own teammates or own team. You learn a lot of stuff playing with different people and at different levels. A lot of the guys on 3d teams have been playing their entire lives.”
Another immersive experience for student-athletes, Harlem sent seven players to this year’s 3d National Team Camp, held at the Lawrenceville School from June 26 to 28. There, the Harlem players joined more than 110 of the top 3d Lacrosse players from around the country for two days of training in the 3d Methodology led by college coaches before the annual 3d NTC Play Day.
“NTC is a highly leveraged event for us,” said Van Arsdale, who played Division I lacrosse at the University of Virginia.
“We get to send a few kids over those three days to play and be coached and they come back having learned so much that they’re also pulling up the guys around them, teaching what they learned to the rest of the group. So not only for those seven kids that got to do that – who are playing at one of the highest level events over several sessions and getting noticeably better while they’re there – but they come back and they make everyone else in the group that much better.”
The National Team Camp experience – which includes numerous sessions led by motivational athlete Keith Wilford – allows players to become close with coaches over the course of the camp, increasing the value of the training and recruiting opportunity.
Neguens Ovincy, a Harlem defenseman in the 2020 class who attends the Virginia Episcopal School, said he received some of his most important inspiration from two 3d coaches at the National Team Camp – Drew Philie, an assistant coach at Deerfield Academy, and Andrew Kirkaldy, the head coach at Trinity Pawling School.
“They had a big impact on me,” Ovincy said. “(Kirkaldy) came out and told you what you could be better at, and that allows me to keep moving forward. (Philie) let me know what I’m really good at but that I need to keep working and that I’m not there yet. They let me know what to do to keep going.”
The combination of experience at 3d’s camps and events is bringing out the best in Harlem athletes, Harlem leaders say. A staple of the Harlem Lacrosse experience each summer, the 2019 and 2021 teams traveled to Maryland the weekend of July 14 and 15 for one of 3d Lacrosse’s largest annual summer tournaments – the FLG in 3d Summer Shootout.
There, Harlem saw at least one player selected to each of the three FLG in 3d All-Star Teams. Meanwhile, the 2019 and 2021 squads finished with a combined 5-5 record after facing talented teams from New England, the Mid-Atlantic, New York, California and more.
“A lot of our kids over the course of the summer season started to see the potential that they have,” Van Arsdale said.
“I think they’re self actualizing as lacrosse players after consistently going to 3d events for several years now. Obviously FLG in 3d is an awesome way for us to cap the summer off.”
Looking back, Harlem’s Chief Program Officer Joel Censer recalled the early buy-in from 3d Lacrosse leadership that led to a successful summer of 2018. That support, he said, helped create the framework for Harlem athletes to get the most out of their summers as the opportunity to play lacrosse at the next level became more tangible.
“I remember when Greg Waldbaum visited our program almost five years ago,” Censer said. “Even then, he saw the connectivity and investment we had with the students and the power of our school-based model. He's since joined our program as an Advisory Board member, but also pushed us early on to consider adding ‘club lacrosse’ programming as well.”
A year and a half later, Harlem began a pilot version of its own club team and it has continued to layer on top of that – fielding 2019, 2021, and 2023 boys teams and 2021 and 2023 girls teams this summer.
“Club programming has been so beneficial to Harlem Lacrosse participants for a number of different reasons,” Censer said.
“It's allowed kids to continue to play during the summer, and because our students play against such great competition, it helps participants consider what they need to do to elevate their game and their skillset. We consider ourselves very lucky to have been able to work alongside 3d to continue to innovate and grow this important piece of programming.”
Continuing to pave the way for Harlem as it expands its footprint throughout the country, 3d Lacrosse has resources and people in position to help the organization grow its club and training opportunities far and wide.
“3d Lacrosse is committed to helping Harlem Lacrosse every step of the way,” Waldbaum said. “Harlem is an integral part of the 3d family and we couldn’t be more proud to be working in lockstep with Harlem CEO Mike Levin and his incredible staff.”
For more information and history on Harlem Lacrosse, including the upcoming Harlem Lacrosse Annual Benefit scheduled for Sept. 27, visit harlemlacrosse.org.
To learn more about 3d Lacrosse and its lineup of national and regional events, camps, showcases and select club teams, visit 3dLacrosse.com.
About 3d Lacrosse
3d Lacrosse is the nation’s fastest-growing lacrosse services company, offering innovative training, premier events, select travel teams, showcases and leagues for boys and girls ages six through 18 at all levels of organized competition. Founded in 2009, the Company trains more than 35,000 athletes annually using its proprietary Box-Field Hybrid™ Development System that combines the tight stick-handling and ball control of box lacrosse with the team-based field strategies used in Division I college programs. In addition to lacrosse-specific training, professional coaches help players develop lifelong skills, including dedication, teamwork and critical thinking under pressure. Based in Denver, 3d Lacrosse also has offices in Annapolis, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Hartford, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Rochester, San Diego, San Francisco, Tampa and Westfield, N.J. Learn more at 3dLacrosse.com.
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