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Q&A with Mike and Corey Winkoff re: the New York State Regional Championships

Miss the Empire State Games? Check out the New York State Regional Championships!!!

Mike and Corey Winkoff are well known throughout the lacrosse community through the FLG club on Long Island, and associated series of recruiting events that they operate.

From 1980-1983, FLG CEO Mike Winkoff was a member of Ithaca varsity lacrosse team.  In 1983, he served as captain, and led the team in scoring as the Bombers reached the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Tournament. Prior to co-founding  FLG in 2006, he served in prominent roles in a variety of Long Island lacrosse organizations, including Director of the Cold Spring Harbor (CSH) PAL Program, and later a Board Member and Summer Coach of the Long Island Metropolitan Lacrosse Foundation (LIMLF).  In 2011, Mike was named “one of the top ten most influential people in youth lacrosse today” by US Lacrosse Magazine.

FLG Program Director Corey Winkoff was a three-year letter winner at Cold Spring Harbor High School and helped CSH to New York State C title in 2006, and Nassau County Class C Championship in 2007.  From 2008-2011, he was amember of UPenn varsity lacrosse team.  In 2011 he served as Team Captain, earned Second-team All-Ivy League honors, and helped lead UPenn to 2011 NCAA Tournament (First Round).  He finished his collegeiate career second on Penn’s all-time assist list (95) and 10th all-time in points (135).

Mike and Corey recently took the time to talk to Capital District Lax about their latest project – the New York State Regional Championships.

Gary Govel: Tell us a little about the New York State Lacrosse Regional Championships.

Mike and Corey Winkoff: The New York State Regional Championships is a two day, Championship style tournament for the top amateur lacrosse players who are New York State residents. The Championships will take place in Tuesday, July 24th & Wednesday, July 25th , 2018 at Binghamton University. An ideal location for the Championships because it’s easily accessible for each of the eight regions competing in the event. There will be four competitive teams (Graduating years: 2022, 2021, 2020, and 2019) from each of the eight regions competing. The regions for the NYSR Championships include Adirondack, Central, NYC, Nassau County Long Island, Suffolk County Long Island, Parochial Long Island, Hudson Valley, & Western.

GG: This format sounds a little like the old Empire State Games.  Coincidence?

Mike and Corey: The concept for the New York State Regional Championships definitely came from the old New York State Empire Games. For the 2018 NYSRC every single Director, Coach, or Family involved was in some way or another influenced by the Empire Games. Our hopes is to ‘bring it back’ better than ever by creating an innovative experience that offers the same opportunities the Empire Games did before it shut down in 2010. You will see some details in the New York State Regional Championships that mirror the old Empire Games. Be sure to follow us @FLGLAX on instagram (embedded below) to see what details we are referring to.

GG: Should we think of this event as a recruiting showcase, or is it something different?

Mike and Corey This event should be considered a recruiting showcase. The goal is for our event to become a great alternative for NYS High School athletes to get recruited in the summer. However,this isn’t just a recruiting showcase, it’s much more. The New York State Regionals is a chance to represent your town, your county, your region, and the great State of New York. We want athletes to feel special when they earn the right to wear their region’s gear and rock their region’s colors.

GG: Are players who are already committed to a college eligible to participate?

Mike and Corey:  We welcome and encourage committed athletes to participate in this event. Again, it’s not just a recruiting event. It’s a chance to represent your region. In order for this event to emulate the old Empire Games and create a one of a kind experience for college coaches coming to recruit, we need the top player’s in each region to compete, this includes committed athletes.

GG: What will the team selection process in each region look like?

Mike and Corey: Each region will undergo a very similar tryout process to select the teams. Our regional Directors have put together a staff of High School coaches who are responsible for selecting the best players at each position, for each grade, within each region. Directors for each region will oversee the selection process to ensure the most deserving players are selected, not

Click for more info or to register for a regional tryout

the most well-known or other unrelated factors.

GG: How did you select the coaches and player evaluators for each region?

Mike and Corey: Coaches and evaluators for each region will be selected by our Regional Directors. Their goal is to seek the most enthusiastic, knowledgeable, honorable, and competitive coaches in their region. The Coaches selected will share the same vision and philosophies as the Directors of the New York State Regional Championships. This will ensure each region is selecting the most deserving players and will ensure the New York State Regional Championships are as competitive as they can be.

GG: In a high-profile event like this, how do you ensure that player selection is based on performance at the tryouts rather than reputation coming in, or other factors?

Mike and Corey: We will ensure player selection is based on performance at the tryouts because the Regional Directors selected for the New York State Regional Championships share the same morals and philosophies. They are motivated by putting together teams that best represent their regions, not by their own selfish interests. FLG Lacrosse will be on site to help administer and oversee the selection process as well to ensure player selection is based on performance.

GG: Why three teams from Long Island?  Could having multiple teams from the region affect their chances of winning the statewide tournament?

Mike and Corey: Having three teams from Long Island is a result of two things. One, the Nassau and Suffolk regions have developed two competitive teams every year since the Empire Games disbanded in 2010. The Long Island Lacrosse Showcase is an event that brings together the best players from Nassau and the best players from Suffolk to compete in a showcase game. With one team in each High School graduating class, the LI Lacrosse Showcase never disappoints as Nassau & Suffolk go back in forth with who is better. Keeping a team in both counties will give more opportunity to players coming off the island. Adding a Parochial team from Long Island will again create more opportunity for players coming off the island. With perennial power schools likes Chaminade & St. Anthony’s, there are a wide array of talents lacrosse players who would benefit from this event.

GG: What should players, families, and fans expect from the state tournament?

Mike and Corey: Expect the New York State Regional Championships to be a memorable experience for everyone involved. Expect the best amateur lacrosse players from the State of New York to compete against one another with a pride and passion that can’t be expressed anywhere else. Expect families to be talking about this event before, during, and after the event in a way that’s filled with excitement and enthusiasm. Expect coaches from the top colleges around the country to come and recruit at the New York State Regional Championships in hopes of finding a phenom or a diamond in the rough. Expect players from schools in every crack of this State to get an opportunity to rep their region and get exposure that they couldn’t get anywhere else.

For more info visit:

NYS Lacrosse Regional Championships

ESG pics from FLG’s Instagram credited to Paul Wilson

Click to register for the Adirondack Region Tryouts

Adirondack Region Tryout & Top 50 Game Dates
2019 & 2020: Monday, June 18th @ UAlbany
2021 & 2022: Tuesday, June 19th @ UAlbany
Top 50 Game: Wednesday, June 20th @ UAlbany

Adirondack Region Directors
Rich Scully: Christian Brothers Academy Head Coach
Donald Shea: Skidmore College Assistant Coach

😲😲😲Coming Summer of 2018 #NYSRC

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Gary Govel
Gary has been involved in lacrosse in the Capital District for over 35 years as a player, youth coach, program administrator, parent, and fan. Gary launched in November 2015 to report on lacrosse news and information of interest to the region, and to share his passion for the game. In addition to operating this site and associated social media, Gary is also a contributor to Inside Lacrosse.