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2014 St. Augustine grad Bryce Young part of pro lacrosse's plans to return

2014 St. Augustine grad Bryce Young part of pro lacrosse's plans to return

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Professional lacrosse is making plans to return this summer.

The Premier Lacrosse League announced last week it will have a quarantined and fanless tournament from July 25 to Aug. 9. The location has not been determined.

The tournament would consist of 20 games. There would be a 14-game group play to determine seeding. The final six games would be the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship.

The top seed earns a first-round bye.

“With everything going on in the the world in the last two months, especially in the sports world, I’m pumped being able to throw something on the calendar,” said Bryce Young, a 2014 St. Augustine Prep graduate and defender for the Whipsnakes Lacrosse Club.

“It’s exciting. Not just for lacrosse, but sports fans in general.”

The PLL is a tour-based league that features seven teams, without specific hometowns, that travel for 14 weeks and play at different venues across the country — the Archers, Atlas, Chaos, Chrome, Redwoods, Whipsnakes and the expansion Waterdogs.

The PLL is coming off a successful inaugural season in 2019 in which it attracted big-name sponsors such as Adidas, Gatorade and Capital One.

NBC Sports carries PLL games across its platforms. Last season, the Week 2 game between the Chaos and the Atlas had 412,000 viewers, making it the most-watched outdoor pro lacrosse game in history.

The Whipsnakes are the defending champions.

“I thought the first year, and it probably goes for everyone who played in the league, was a huge success,” said Young, 24, of Egg Harbor Township.

Young led the University of Maryland to the NCAA Division I championship in 2017 and played for the Ohio Machine of Major League Lacrosse in 2018.

The second-year PLL is a direct competitor to the MLL.

“I was happy with everything that went on within the league. We were kind of made to be professional athletes for the first time, so it was pretty cool.”

Dylan Jinks, a 2015 Southern Regional High School graduate, was selected in the fourth round of the MLL Supplemental Draft by the Denver Outlaws on March 3.

The University of Hartford standout is scheduled to compete in training camp June 22, but that event already has been pushed back three times. Jinks hopes to at least make the practice squad.

Jinks said it would be challenging for the MLL to have a similar tournament.

“I think that it’s a creative idea what the PLL is doing,” said Jinks, 23, of Cedar Run. “It’s definitely an interesting idea. Lacrosse is lacrosse, and whenever you can play it, it’s definitely a good time.”

When Jinks found out he was drafted, he immediately called his parents, Michael (a science teacher a Southern) and Dani (a CT-scan technician at Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin).

The list was alphabetical by the six teams, so he had to patiently scroll to the bottom to finally see his name.

“It was definitely a long time coming,” said Jinks, who is also a CT-scan and X-ray tech at Community Medical Center in Toms River.

“I’ve dreamt about this day since I picked up the stick. It was definitely a nice feeling. It kind of caught my breath for a minute.”

Health concerns

The PLL regular season was scheduled to start May 29 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. It was postponed indefinitely April 10.

PLL co-founder and Atlas midfielder Paul Rabil, however, formed a coronavirus medical staff to help plan the tournament.

Players and personnel will be tested prior to arrival. Nobody will be allowed to leave until the event is completed. They will be tested again midway through the tournament.

If anyone tests positive, the remainder of the tournament will be postponed.

“To some extent, there is some concern,” said Young. “But the health and safety of the players are the first and foremost priority of the staff and the PLL.

“I think they are going to do everything they can to protect us and everyone else involved. I trust them.”

Jinks said working in the medical field, along with his mother who works directly with families affected by the coronavirus, gives him a different outlook on the pandemic than just learning about it at home.

Jinks, who works out with his parents to stay in shape, said none of his family members have tested positive.

“It’s a very unfortunate circumstance going on in the world,” Jinks said. “I feel horrible for all the people affected by this. My thoughts and prayers go out to anyone who is.”

Jinks was a three-time Press Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year. He led the Rams to two South Jersey Group IV titles and scored a program-record 274 career goals.

“People are fighting the good fight over in hospitals and are putting in a lot of hard time and sacrificing themselves to help others,” Jinks said. “I want to give a shout-out to all those people, especially my mom.”

Meanwhile, planning continues for the resumption of pro lacrosse.

The PLL field is 100 yards long, 10 shorter than a traditional field. The move was made to enhance transition opportunities and speed up the pace of play.

There is a two-point shot and a 52-second shot clock. Players also wear cameras in their helmet, just another way the league attempts to be more player- and fan-friendly.

“I think it’ll be interesting to see how (the tournament) plays out,” Young said. “I know they have some things to figure out. But it’s going to be exciting.”

Contact: 609-272-7210

Twitter @ACPressMulranen

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