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The historic Brogden Cup, which originated in 1988 with competition between top players from Canada and the U.S., has evolved in recent years to bring together top high school players as part of the Fall Classic and this year included teams from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

The USA Select U16 and U18 boys’ and girls’ teams went undefeated Oct. 16-17. More than 1,600 players participated in tryouts for the USA Select teams, with 88 ultimately representing the country.

We asked U16 player Grace Hasselbeck to journal about her experiences.

I did not think I could love lacrosse any more than I already did.

Then I stepped onto the field in my USA jersey alongside the best of the best, and my passion for the game hit a whole new level.

The unique opportunity to represent my country by wearing red, white and blue was a life-changing experience because we were playing for one another and our nation. Running out behind the flag onto Tierney Field before our last game of the weekend was the most surreal experience of my life.

To our coaches, to Natalie Wills, to Bean, to the bus drivers and our families — I will never be able to thank you all enough for making us all feel so special and loved at this year’s Fall Classic. Holding up the Brogden Cup as a team after our last game is a memory I will cherish forever. As we were all lifting the cup together with our arms around each other, I thought it was an incredible symbol of the weekend.

Watching Boston College play Team USA with my cousins, Annabelle and Mallory Hasselbeck, playing for BC was another impact moment for me. Annabelle is a sophomore who won a national championship last year, and Mallory is a total beast and now plays for BC as a freshman. Seeing them play together on the field versus Team USA was awesome. It was also Annabelle’s birthday. It was amazing that my family and I were able to see her play and celebrate her right there at the stadium.

Being there together reminded me how Annabelle and Mallory coached me up for the National Team Development Program combine this past summer at USA Lacrosse, giving me valuable advice. They said to be aggressive, try new things and learn your teammates’ names. I found those three notes to be incredibly important and game-changers when trying out for or being a part of a new team.

I also asked them about their own USA Select experience two years ago.

“My USA experience was critical to my development as a teammate and lacrosse player,” Annabelle said. “It was an absolute honor to have USA on my chest, and being able to meet other girls who share the same love for lacrosse was very special.”

“I loved every second of my U.S. experience,” Mallory said. “Stepping on the field alongside the best of the best is always an honor and so much fun.”

Coming from Nashville, Tennessee, I did not know most of the girls very well going into the weekend. But after the first practice, everyone made awesome efforts to get to know one another, paving the way for friendships that I believe will last a lifetime. Our sideline celebrations were unforgettable. The bench press and the bowling ball were team favorites.

Playing for Team USA made me a better teammate and player. The team’s connection off the turf affected our connection on the turf, and we were able to make so many amazing plays happen as if we had been playing together forever.

To my teammates: I love and cannot wait to see y’all soon!

Go Team USA!