Ultimate Growth: DeJuliis, Hall of Famer Turned Club CEO, Gives Back


This article appeared in the April edition of US Lacrosse Magazine. Don’t get the mag? Join US Lacrosse today to start your subscription.

Michele DeJuliis loved being a cop. She just loved teaching more.

After graduating as a four-time Penn State All-American in 1998, DeJuliis strove to make a difference.

She joined the Baltimore City Police Department and its SWAT team. Elite as she was, though, DeJuliis missed lacrosse.

“Coaching lacrosse was a lot safer,” she said with a laugh. “My police escapade was short-lived.”

In 2001, DeJuliis founded Ultimate Lacrosse, a club based in Philadelphia and New Jersey for girls in fifth through 11th grade. 

The Baltimore native’s sign for a change was travelling north every weekend to train young women with Princeton All-American and 2001 U.S. gold medalist Crista Samaras, who then owned XTEAM, a club later bought by Trilogy Lacrosse. 

“I missed teaching,” said DeJuliis, who later became a Princeton assistant for eight seasons. “That’s when I knew this is what I would be doing for the rest of my life. We wanted to move forward with the club because we thought we could make a greater impact.”

Alongside Chris Robinson of M&D, Carol Rose of the Yellow Jackets and Samaras, DeJuliis fostered a club culture that valued multi-sport athletes. 

Ultimate Lacrosse’s mission molded into one dedicated to personal and lacrosse development.

“Character counts. Manners matter,” said DeJuliis, captain of the 2009 U.S. gold medalists.

In 2012, DeJuliis joined Rebecca Wells as co-owners and founders of Ultimate Events & Sports, an organization dedicated to providing premier events and tournaments in lacrosse and field hockey. The two connected when Wells was the program director at United Sports in Pennsylvania, hosting tournaments like the IWLCA Champions Cup.

Six Ultimate tournaments — Next Generation (girls), Polar Challenge, The Roundup, Project 120, The Grind and The Watch — are part of the US Lacrosse sanctioning program. 

“Working with US Lacrosse in providing some the best-in-class tournaments is an exciting time,” Wells said. 

The Grind (July 6-8 in Chester County, Pa.) also is a qualifier for US Lacrosse Nationals at the 14U, 13U and 12U age levels.

“We’re all about growing the game,” DeJuliis said. “We support the mission of US Lacrosse. We are doing everything that we can to do things by the book and put on a good tournament and a safe tournament. That’s really important to us. It was a no-brainer.”

Recent players to come through Ultimate include Colleen Magarity (2007 U.S. U19 team, Northwestern ’11), and Kali Hartshorn (2017 Big Ten Freshman of the Year at Maryland).

“It was important to me to give back to the sport that gave me so much,” DeJuliis said. “What’s cool for me is seeing a player like Kali be so spotlighted last year. I’m so proud of them for how hard they worked. Nothing is given to you. You have to earn everything. I’m just happy to be a part of their journey.”

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