Vail Lacrosse Shootout returns with rising stars, NCAA champions, former pros and more
Mohawk Tile returns to defend men's elite title
For 50 years, lacrosse enthusiasts from across the country and world have ascended to valley for the Vail Lacrosse Shootout. With nine divisions, there is a game for rising stars, NCAA champions, former pros and die-hard masters. While the lacrosse action promises to be riveting across the board, the U19 and elite fields provide local flavor and world-class athleticism — two ingredients deserving of a deeper dive.
Mohawk Tile brings back most of the pieces from their 2021 championship run and enters 2022 as the top seed. P.J. Landaiche’s team Vestria/Lacrosseware, however, has the best odds.
Landaiche’s squad won five straight titles from 2014-2018, but hasn’t been back since then. Winners of seven total titles, they are expected to emerge from pool B to face The Tile and their roster full of DI talent from Drexel, Penn State, Loyola, UNC and Delaware. The No. 1 seed in pool C is Texas Forever, which made a remarkable run to last year’s final.
Finally, in pool D is a tournament regular paying their 10th visit to Vail, The Big Green Herd. A perennially final four favorite — they’ve done it the last seven times — the Herd brings a roster mixed with veterans and youth from Dartmouth, Yale and Denver. Keep your eyes on the team’s prized rookie, Matt Paul and former Connecticut Hammerhead, Ben Martin.
If you’re looking for a team to latch onto, the DLL Oysters might be it. According to the tournament program, the Oysters “have been playing, in one form or another, at the Shootout for longer than some of the players on its roster have likely been alive.”
Ryan LaPlante, Zach Runberg, Nick Philips, Wilkins Dismuke and the fearless leader Logan “Don” Bobzien are back to lead the group, now partnered with the Denver Lacrosse League. Despite being a top-tier team every year, they’ve never been able to hoist the Flip Cup. With more final four appearances and top-three finishes than any other group in the bunch, they’re a dark horse.
Locally, 10th Mountain Lacrosse, which started four years ago as a high school club, will bring alumni from VMS, Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley and Summit High Schools together to play on their old stomping grounds. Representing what is in essence the valley’s first generation of college athletes, schools like Westminster University (UT), Mesa State, Adams State, Lynn University (FL), Cornell College (IA), Northern Ohio (OH), CU-Boulder, North Dakota State, RPI (NY), Seton HIll (PA), Montana State (MT) and Howard Community College (MD) will all be represented.
Seed Team Odds
- Mohawk Tile 5/1
- Team Vestria/Lacrossewear 3/1
- Texas Forever 5/1
- DLL Oysters 5/1
- Big Green Herd 5/1
- Black Seals 8/1
- FCA 8/1
- Lowkey Boys 15/1
- Sons of Joe 15/1
- Silver Bullets 15/1
- Nutchasers 25/1
- Rocky Mountain Rogue 25/1
- 10th Mountain Lacrosse 25/1
Pool Play: Thursday, July 1 at Ford Field
- Two points awarded for goals beyond 16-yards.
- 30-second shot clock rule is enforced.
- Games will be 20-minute halves with one timeout per half.
Tournament: July 2-4 at Ford Field
Championship game: July 4, 12:30 PM at Ford 1
More detailed pool and tournament schedule can be found at VailLacrosse.com.
Women’s elite preview
The 39th year of the women’s division will bring a mix of college athletes, club teams and lacrosse-loving women from across the country — and world — to Vail.
Win or Booze not only has arguably the best name, but they also enter the tournament with the top seed after a second-place finish to Katelyn Slaminko’s LGR squad last year.
“Our team is compiled of a bunch of kids who just love to compete and play the game of lacrosse,” reads the team’s description in the Shootout preview. The team consists of former NCAA players, many of whom met playing high school lacrosse in Colorado or became friends at the Shootout.
Demonstrating the Shootout’s prestige in the world of lacrosse, a team from Australia will be making the trip to Vail to compete in the women’s elite division in 2022. With a mix of players from Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne, the team had planned on playing in the 2021 ASPAC Championship in New Zealand before the tournament was canceled due to COVID. The Vail Shootout will be their first tournament as a team.
Australian men’s teams have come to Vail in the past, and individuals from the country have joined other teams, but this will be the first women’s team to compete.
5th Beers brings some “recent and not so recent grads” of DI and DII schools. Front Range Lax comes in the fourth seed, bringing a mix of young east-coast athletes and “washed-up west coast athletes,” as their program entry lovingly states.
Returning to Vail for just the second time is Ripsaw, a group of all-Ohio post-collegiate players. They’ll have at least a little more experience than the Southern California-based SkyFire group, which is debuting its women’s lacrosse chapter at the tournament. Though a third of SkyFire’s roster has played in the Shootout, the rest of its wide-ranging mix of rising college freshman, NCAA athletes and coaches of all levels haven’t.
Another first-year team hails, the Houston United Lacrosse Club (HULC), will come from Texas with a mix of former high school and collegiate athletes as well. Co Laxers rounds out the field with predominantly Shootout rookies on its Colorado-heavy roster.
- Win or Booze
- 5th Beers
- Front Range LAX
- CO Laxers
Pool Play: July 1-2 at Vail Athletic Field and Edwards/Freedom Park
Tournament: July 3-4 at Vail Athletic Field
Championship Game: July 4, 10:30 a.m., Ford Field
U19 Boys and Girls: “mythical national championship”
Organizers believe the U19 division at the Vail Lacrosse Shootout is “the most coveted annual U19 championship in the U.S.” according to the 2022 event program.
“Leaders and coaches from many top clubs and programs have told us that their organizations view the Vail Shootout U19 championship as their program’s pinnacle goal each year,” the program states.
Many key players in this year’s NCAA lacrosse championships honed their stick skills in the Shootout’s youngest division. The evenly matched seven-team field congregating on Ford Field for Monday’s round robin and subsequent tournament June 28-30 will bring a healthy stash of NCAA commits as well.
ADRLN Tropics, Jono Zisi’s California team, which won in 2019, returns as the presumptive favorite in the boy’s race after a disappointing third-place showing last year. They’ll be challenged by teams from the Midwest, Utah and Colorado — including Denver-based 3BY and Team Colorado — in what could be a dogfight to determine the final matchups. Keep your eyes on Sean Morris’ Laxachusetts team. The green jerseys from Massachusetts won a championship several years back and are returning after missing the tournament’s last two iterations.
Sixteen U19 girls teams, including two Vail teams, will contest the 25th installment of the U19 girl’s division. Maryland’s Hero’s Green and Team HLA, who met in last year’s final, return as the top two seeds. Stash, which started in Edwards in 2020, is seeded 11th and will play its first games in pool C at the Edwards turf at Freedom Park at 9 a.m. on Monday. Another local organization, No. 15 seeded Mountain Lax, will kick things off at 12:45 p.m. at the second field at Freedom Park against West Slope.
The U19 girls contest two days of pool play before being reseeded into an eight-team gold and eight-team silver bracket for Wednesday and Thursday. The championship of the gold bracket is on June 30 at 9 a.m. at Freedom Park.
Boys (not seeded)
- Hero’s Green
- Team HLA
- Team 180 Black
- AU Trojans
- Puget Sound
- Hero’s White
- Wasatch LC
- Team 180 Yellow
- Stars Lt Blue
- Georgia Outlaws
- West Slope
- Houston Heat
- 10th Mountain Lax
- Stars Navy
(All championships games are at Ford Field.)
- Zenmasters (60+): June 25-27; championship game: June 27, 8:30 a.m. Ford Field
- Grandmasters (50+): June 25-27; championship game: June 27, 10:00 a.m.
- Supermasters (40+): June 25-27; championship game: June 27, 1:00 p.m.
- Masters (30+): July 1-3; championship game: July 3, 1:00 p.m.