Emily Mathewson didn’t even know who was going to be joining her at Nike’s The Ride in Beaverton, Ore. until she got to the airport to fly out.
That’s when the Garnet Valley 2016 attacker bumped into Radnor 2015 defender/midfielder Hannah Proctor. The Central League rivals played together on Philly Team 3 at the U.S. Lacrosse Schoolgirls National Tournament this summer, so it was nice for them to have some familiarity with each other before making the cross-country trek.
Once they got there, though, they stopped feeling like high school players and were made to feel like professionals.
“It was honestly unreal,” Mathewson said. “It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. They literally treated us like professionals. Every time we walked into the locker room, there were new surprises and there was so much energy with everything.”
Proctor echoed those thoughts, saying that she was impressed with everything from the facilities all the way to the coaches.
“It was honestly the most amazing thing,” said Proctor, a Notre Dame verbal. “The campus is beautiful and to be out there with some of the top high school kids was amazing. It was awesome to play against some of the girls that are so, so good, girls that are committed to North Carolina and Virginia and Northwestern.
All-star settings aren’t ideal for defenders, but Proctor felt like she held up well against some of the nation’s elite scorers. It didn’t hurt that she had some pretty good coaching, too.
“It was really tough, but we had coaches like (NCAA national champion at Maryland) Jenny Collins and (Syracuse All-American) Michelle Tumolo gave us a lot of tips,” Proctor said.
Much like Proctor, Mathewson raved about the intensity and the amount of talent assembled at Nike’s facilities.
“The lacrosse portion was unreal,” said Mathewson, who is being recruited by top Division I schools. “There were girls committed to Duke and Northwestern and all of these other great schools. It was great competition. I think I definitely held my own. It was a little nerve-wracking, but once I started playing, I felt better.”
The girls at the event became trailblazers for future players by becoming the first girls to be tested for SPARQ (Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness) scores.
“That was very competitive and challenging,” Mathewson said. “It was the first time that girls were allowed to do the SPARQ testing, so we were kind of setting the bar for future lacrosse girls.”
And judging by players’ reactions, Nike set the bar very high for future lacrosse events.
For a full listing of awards given out at The Ride, click here.