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Evan Blankenship of Wilton

USA Lacrosse High School Boys' Players of the Week

May 31, 2023
USA Lacrosse Magazine Staff
Toby Sylvestor

The USA Lacrosse Players of the Week recognize the most outstanding individual performances in high school boys’ lacrosse in each of the four active regions — Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and West — outlined in our high school coverage The South Region has completed play for the season.


Evan Blankenship, Wilton (Conn.)

In the biggest game of his lacrosse career, Evan Blankenship put forth his best effort of the season. The Wilton (Conn.) goaltender made 12 saves in the FCIAC championship game, helping the Warriors defeat New Canaan (Conn.), 8-4. It’s Wilton’s first FCIAC title in 24 years.

For his effort, the senior, who replaced All-American Colin Leskold this season, was named tournament MVP.

“He was a rock for us in the cage the entire FCIAC tournament, but he was lights out in the championship game,” Wilton coach Steve Pearsall said. “Evan has been getting better with every game this season. Every aspect of his game has improved. He is not only better at stopping the ball, but also clearing and quarterbacking our defense. Evan works his butt off every day in practice and puts in the extra time in the cage and in the weight room to make himself better.”

Also notable:  Connor Atwater, Cheshire (Conn.); Jayden Finkelstein, Calhoun (N.Y.); Billy Haggerty, Iona Prep (N.Y.); Daniel Picart, Pleasantville (N.Y.); Ryan Rooney, Smithtown East (N.Y.)

— Dylan Butler


Colin Gray, Broadneck (Md.)

The Broadneck senior goalie made nine saves to help the Bruins win their first state title in 26 years, 16-6, over Sherwood (Md.) in the Class 4A championship. Sherwood trimmed the Broadneck lead to 7-5 in the third quarter before the Bruins defense with Jake Chambers, Eli Harris and Braden McCassie buckled down and Gray allowed only one more goal. Several faceoff wins by Graham Hartman swayed the momentum toward Broadneck and they finished the game on a 9-1 run led by Ryan Salazar’s two goals and four assists and hat tricks by Jackson Shaw and Tanner Boone. Broadneck earlier won their first county championship since 2001, and they finished the season unbeaten at 20-0. Gray is committed to play at Washington College next year.

Also notable: Jawad Challoub, Masterman (Pa.); Aiden Dixon, Fallston (Md.); Collin French, Radnor (Pa.); Kasey Heath, Kent Island (Md.); Ashby Shepherd, Severna Park (Md.); Asher Ziv, Pingry (N.J.)

— Justin Feil


Khalif Hocker, St. Xavier (Ohio)

It has been a good week for Hocker, who was named the number three recruit in the 2025 class by the National Lacrosse Federation. The sophomore demonstrated why he got that ranking by scoring half of his team’s goals in a 10-9 victory over Archbishop Moeller (Ohio) to secure St. Xavier’s fifth straight regional championship. Hocker also had four goals and three assists in a 22-4 Region 4 semifinal victory over Kings (Ohio).

Also notable: Jack Caine, Upper Arlington (Ohio); Hunter Payer, Benilde-St. Margaret’s (Minn.); Brady Sestili, Dublin Jerome (Ohio)

— Jonah Rosenblum


Brant Ward, Mountain Vista (Colo.)

The senior goalie rebounded from a slow start in the CHSAA Class 5A championship game and was a big reason why the Golden Eagles came away with a 10-8 win over Valor Christian (Colo.) for their second title in three years. After letting four shots sneak past him in the opening quarter, Ward held Valor to just one goal over the second and third quarters, including a stretch of 25 scoreless minutes, to help Vista mount a comeback and finally take a lead in the third quarter. He finished with nine saves for the game, and Ward was named the tournament MVP. He’s headed to Sacred Heart in the fall.

Also notable: Chase Beyer, Park City (Utah); Joel Palasz, Mountain Vista (Colo.); AJ Silianoff, Park City (Utah)

— Laurel Pfahler