Locals get into the Shootout | VailDaily.com

Locals get into the Shootout

Chris Freud
Preston Utley/Vail DailyTeam Vails Whitney Hoversten darts around a Utah defender Saturday at the Vail Lacrosse Shootout at Ford Park. Hoversten is one of four local athletes participating in the High School Boys U-19 division.

VAIL – The team name “Vail” in the High Boys U-19 division of the Vail Lacrosse Shootout is somewhat of a misnomer.Of the 15-plus players on the team, only four – Barrett Chow, Whitney Hoversten, Ryan Maddux and Shelton Adams – are actually from Eagle County. The rest of the squad is a conglomeration of players from throughout the country.But that is not the point.”Vail” is also off to a rough start in the tournament and will be playing in the consolation bracket in the next few days.

That is not the point either.The point is that young athletes from Eagle County are getting the bug to play lacrosse, the fastest growing sport in America.”This is the true spirit of lacrosse,” Vail coach Greg Schroeder said. “It’s just showing up and getting together with some guys and having a good time. That’s what it’s all about.”We’re out here to have fun. We’re up against some teams that are very good and have all-stars. We’re a beginning program, so we’re just out there to get some good experience.”Schroeder is part of a nonprofit club called the Western Colorado Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (www.rockymountainlax.com), which has teams in Vail, Eagle, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.

The goal of the organization is to start some feeder programs so that local youth take up the sport at a younger age just like their counterparts in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.Whatever the skill level, it’s apparent that players like Chow, now a sophomore at Battle Mountain who plays hockey and runs track, are attracted to the sport. “It’s kind of a mix between the two,” he said. “You get to run and hit people and have fun. These last couple of games I’ve tried out defense and it’s just fun. Having the Colorado Mammoth and being able to watch, and since hockey isn’t really pro hockey any more, you have to look forward to something.”Vail naturally is encountering the problems of a team that was thrown together in the last few days. It’s still a getting-to-know-you experience.”You definitely get a lot of experience playing these teams from out east who’ve been playing their whole lives,” Adams said. “We’ve only been around a couple of years. We definitely get a lot of experience, learning how they play.”

And that is the point.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614, or cfreud@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado

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