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Huskies lacrosse opens Friday in Edwards

SPT BM Boys Lacrosse 2 DT 3-4-09
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EDWARDS, Colorado ” It is all very real.

Battle Mountain girls lacrosse coach Stacy Schapira was wearing a Huskies sweatshirt Wednesday. The boys coaching staff was outfitted in snazzy jackets. The girls team was wearing its black uniforms, while the boys team had pennies with “Battle Mountain Lacrosse” across them.

After years of stops-and-starts, club play and rumbling, Battle Mountain has official CHSAA boys and girls lacrosse programs. The boys get the honor of the first Battle Mountain lacrosse game Friday against Aspen at 3 p.m. at Freedom Park at Edwards. The girls open their inaugural campaign Wednesday, also in Edwards, against Summit County.

“I love playing lacrosse,” Huskies boys’ team goalie Spencer Currie. “It’s my favorite sport. Just playing in a game is the single most exciting thing you can do. I’m excited just to get this as a high school sport.”

“We’re really excited,” said Jana Weiss, one of the captains of the girls’ team. “We actually have scheduled games. We have a team. Last year (as a club team), we only had one sub.”

While there were doubtless no complaints about playing time in that situation, this year the Huskies have numbers and are ready to go.

The big time

Battle Mountain has played as a club team for the last few years. With CHSAA status, the Huskies join the Mountain Conference, which is a Western Slope-style league combining traditional 4A and 5A programs in the region. (There is only one classification in Colorado lacrosse, so Colorado Academy, a small private school, is thrown in with a huge Denver public school like Columbine.)

The boys league includes Steamboat Springs, Summit, Eagle Valley, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction and Durango and Aspen. Steamboat and Aspen don’t have girls teams yet, while Summit plays in the Metro Conference, so the Huskies will go to Durango weekend after next for a round-robin tournament to make up the difference.

The Steamboat Springs boys team is the pioneer in lacrosse in the region, having played for 12 seasons. Summit is in its third year, while Aspen started last season. The Huskies along with Eagle Valley, Glenwood Grand Junction and Durango are all new programs, which should make for a wide-open race as the season develops.

“It’s a great sport for kids,” Huskies boys coach Bob Daino said. “They get to run. They get to handle the ball. They can check. The hockey players, this is right up their alley. It’s the same type of athlete. He likes to hit. He likes to score goals. He likes to handle the ball or the puck. It’s creating space and getting away from the defender.”

That brings us to a few differences between the gents and the ladies. The guys play four 12-minute periods, while the gals play 25-minute halves. Hitting is legal in the boys’ game and not in the girls’.

“Basically, we can’t hit each other. That gives us a lot less of chance to get the ball away (from the other team),” Schapira said. “We have to be really good at finesse and we have to be in really good shape so that we can keep the ball going down the field and have a lot of plays set, so the girls know where they’re going and who they’re going to. Mainly, girls’ lacrosse is more of an art form, not taking anything away from the guys. We have to really know each other and how each other plays and know each position inside and out.”

Meet the guys

Battle Mountain is young, but so is the rest of the Mountain Conference with the exception of Steamboat and Summit. Daino saw a bunch of potential senior starters for his team graduate in December, but there remains a lot of talent.

Currie mans the net and in front of him are defenders Ryan Barry, Stephen Licciardi, Nick Pegram, Callum Rowand, Drew Vessey and Nick Vossler. The middies are Colby Childers, , Charlie Grant, Carl Hamrick, Chris Libertini, Carl Lipp, Patrick Perry, A.J. Schmidt, Christian Tappe, William Thompson and Tommy Travers.

Up front, the attackers are Cooper Cartmill, Jon Paul Ferzacca, Coleby Henzlik, Chris Nichols, Reeve Sanders and Elliot Simon.

It’s a young and athletic crew, which Daino hopes will mature quickly.

“Ideally I’d like to win them all,” the coach said. “I’ve got to be over .500. That’s my goal. I’m looking to be two or three games over .500. That’s my personal goal. We’ll see what happens. We’ll see how these kids come together.”

Meet the gals

The girls have 22 on the roster. The team includes Becca Bosworth, Trisha Bruen, Barri Daino, Samantha Engle, Ali Feeny, Leala King, Rachel L’Heureux, Kelli Lewis, Gina Lovell, Juliette Martinez, Rylee McMillin, Sarah Melzer, Karen Nolasco, Valeria Rivero, Samantha Romero, Caitlin Samuelson, Nima Sherpa, Ariel Stephens, Annie Talbot, Brodie Waring, Kristi Waring and Weiss.

“It’s extremely exciting and it’s extremely nervous-making at the same time,” Schapira said. “We have a lot of expectations, but I think we’re going to live up them. No matter what happens, I have a great bunch of girls and they are all working really hard for me. I can’t ask for anything more.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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