Big strides made in second season of play[ by Andrew Hadley ]
The West Elk Warrior lacrosse crew stormed into Montrose last weekend to compete against Telluride and Montrose in some non-tournament games. Eighty of the Crested Butte and Gunnison Warriors made the trip and all were excited to play in some relatively warm springtime weather. Age levels from U8 to U15 played two games apiece and there was also an inter squad game between the U9/U10 locals who ended up bringing 30 kids under the age of 10. This young group of lacrosse enthusiasts is certainly turning out to be a promising group of players and they are learning more about the sport with every practice.
The Warriors have been practicing in mostly snowy weather during this typical spring in the high country. The program has grown in its second year of existence and the players were eager to get in some game time situations with their rivals from over the pass.
The U15 team opened strong against Montrose and showed some quick ball movement on the offensive side of the field. Wylie Bodine, Shaughn Rourke and Luke Bacailli stepped on the gas as the three starting attackmen. A huge amount of hustle came from all the midfielders and Joseph Cummins stepped in and added another strong offensive component to the team in the second half. The defense was lights out against the bigger Montrose team and Murphy Smith was like a wrecking ball, going after every loose ball with abandon. First-year defender Slater Weil, as well as Connor Chinn and Luke Collins, should also be commended for their incredible defensive skills. The U15 team came away with an impressive win and a foreshadowing of what was to come for the rest of the day.
This young group of lacrosse players has really been soaking up everything they can learn from their coaches this season. Matt Whiting, Tom Keating, David Gross and Andrew Hadley have been coaching the kids twice a week for a little over a month and the skills are starting to show. The U11 team absolutely dominated their opponents with a 20-3 goal differential in their two games. Too many players stood out to name them all, but let’s just say this group of players came to play, and it showed.
The U9/10 squad was really fun to watch. For many of them it was their first time playing a real game. The level of skill and enthusiasm they played with and the pride beaming from the coaches’ and parents’ eyes showed that the future of this program is in very good hands with these players. This young team won both of the games they played.
The day ended with the U13 team playing Telluride. West Elk has played strong against Telluride and both teams fought extremely hard for the win.
The game was well played defensively and goals were hard to come by. The score flip-flopped all game and the Warriors had to dig down deep at the end of the day to score one last goal and pull away with the win. Nico Marchitelli played outstandingly in the goal. It was hard to lose his wheels in the midfield, but Lucy Duryea, John Allen Penny, Eric Wasinger and the rest of the team fought hard for the ground balls and in the end the Warriors were able to sneak away with a win by one goal.
When the dust had cleared the local lacrosse Warriors had played nine games in four hours and had won every one of them. Actually, one of the games was a U9/10 game against themselves, so let’s just call that one a tie.
The potential for this group of athletes is astronomical and as their coach I look forward to every practice and every game to see what new skills they can impress me with. There will be a home lacrosse game on Saturday, May 21 in Gunnison. Stay tuned for details because you should really try to come out and watch this inspirational group of kids play the oldest sport this country has known—it will turn you on and make you cheer, I guarantee.