Seniors lead team to unforeseen success
Sports teams don’t just sprout out of the ground.
Players and coaches need to be there to clear the land, plant the seeds and tend to the crops.
This spring, Battle Mountain lacrosse saw all of its labor come to fruition with its first harvest. The Huskies, in their first year as a varsity team, had a great campaign, posting an 8-3-1 record.
“If you would have told me that at the beginning of the season, I would have never believed you,” Battle Mountain coach Bob Daino says of his team’s record.
As senior Barrett Chow knows, it took a lot of work to get to where the team is now.
“Lacrosse has come a really long way,” says Chow, who started playing in seventh grade when lacrosse in Eagle County consisted of a group of guys tossing the ball around after school. “When I was a freshman we didn’t have enough kids for a team. We played with Glenwood and we were the Vailwood team.”
Not only was this year special because of the leap the team took toward the ultimate level of competition (they were in between the club level of last year and not quite officially in the Colorado High School Activities Association league that they hope to compete in next year) but this year saw the Huskies graduate their first true senior class.
“I’m going to miss these kids,” said coach Bob Daino. “There are a couple of really good players.”
Daino rotated the captaincy responsibilities between his starters, but there was one player who filled the role with or without the official title.
“Barrett was probably my captain all season,” Daino says. “That goes without saying. He’s a natural leader. I’m going to miss him more than I can believe. All the younger kids look up to him ” every team should have 10 Barretts.”
Many of the team’s seven seniors have been playing for a few years, although first-year seniors, like Kristjan Gannon, jumped on to the lacrosse wagon.
“It’s fun to see kids come along,” Chow says. “At the beginning of the year, Kristjan couldn’t catch a ball for his life. (Later) he ended up starting.”
While there may be a big hole in the lineup with the departure of the seniors ” Maya King, Chow, Eric Davis, John Ryan Melzer, Ryan Maddux, Todd Walker and Gannon ” there is a pipeline of younger players ready to move up in the system.
“There are a bunch of good kids on the eighth-grade team coming up,” Chow says.
“What’s even more exciting is I’m getting younger kids, in fourth and fifth grade,” Daino says. “You’ll see a bigger improvement in our program, all across the board. We’re going to need that to compete with teams across the state.”
As much fun as the seniors had, playing lacrosse wasn’t all glory; the kids gave up opportunities to earn varsity letters or even win state titles in track and field.
“At the beginning of the season, I told Rob Parish (the track coach) that I’m trying to help start the team,” says Chow, who would have been a key member of the track squad. “I hope one day the lacrosse team is the place to be. That’s my goal. We’re hoping to start a tradition, and it looks promising.”
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