For Immediate Release – Utah Blackhawks
The Utah Blackhawks lacrosse teams recently wrapped up their club calendars for the 2013 season in Del Mar, California, competing in the Adrenaline Del Mar Challenge Jan. 3-5 and testing themselves against the best in the West and a few Eastern interlopers, as well.
The Utah Blackhawks 2016/17 team, coached by Walker Bateman, was riding high after a second-place finish in Las Vegas four weeks earlier, and with the addition of a few more standout players (including some freshmen), were ready to make some noise. Unfortunately, its first game was against Seattle Starz 2016, a premiere club team in the Northwest that was eager to avenge its decisive loss to the Blackhawks in the semifinals in Vegas. In the end the highly motivated Starz won the back-and-forth battle with two late goals (the last in the final 10 seconds), both out of the sun, to take the game.
The Utahns answered with some payback of their own the next game, defeating the Bay Area 3D Select NorCal 2016 team decisively and, like the Starz, avenging a loss in Vegas. The defensive unit, led by Bryson Taylor and including Cameron Folkerson, Tobin Greenwald, Zach Hammel, Nathan Kenney, and Kyle Reaveley, smothered the Californian’s attack.
Next up were the Atlantic Coast Starz, (Maryland Crabs) a conglomeration of standouts from Baltimore, one of the leading lacrosse hotbeds in the country. From the beginning of the game it was clear that it would be a battle of superior athleticism (Blackhawks) versus better stick and communication skills (AC Starz). Between the Blackhawks defense and the outstanding play of the AC Starz goalie, reputedly Baltimore’s best in the 2016 class, the officials tracking the score had very little to do. At one point an Alec Meyer goal bounced off the goalie’s leg and into the net but then exited out the back, causing the referee to mistakenly wave it off. Nonetheless, the eventual 2-2 tie was a more-than-respectable showing against this East Coast powerhouse team, one that would eventually cruise to an easy victory in the championship bracket.
However, that last-second goal in the first game would cost the Blackhawks, mathematically eliminating them from the championship bracket. With a serious chip on their collective shoulder the next morning, the Blackhawks proceeded to shell another Seattle team, the Starz United, 13-2. The tough defense gave the Utah goalies, Sean Edwards and Phil Cannell, very little to do and even got into the scoring action at the other end of the field, with Cam Folkerson scoring twice with his long pole and Kyle Reaveley putting in a sweet behind-the-back shot.
The next opponent, Alpha HS was a strong Californian team, but with Josh Stout and Daxton Allison leading the way scoring for the attack and Dylan Permain chipping in from midfield, the Blackhawks seized control of the game and took the match 6-3. Kyle Reaveley had some nice takeaways as the D played its usual lock-down style, while Zach Danninger and Hunter Cannon dominated the faceoffs with good wing play from Zach Hammel and Cam Folkerson.
These two games landed the Blackhawks in the finals of the consolation bracket, where they faced the Canadian Sea Spray HS A team. Big, strong, and with crazy-good stick skills from playing box in the great white north, they made it clear from the start that the Blackhawks had their work cut out for them. But the Utah players didn’t back down from the Sea Spray’s chippy style of play, and actually were much more physical on lose balls. Josh Stout was on fire, scoring a hat trick, playing middie, taking a faceoff, and playing man down. The game was tied with under a minute left to play, the Blackhawks called a timeout to set up a situation and get a good shot off. The play went as planned, but the Sea Spray goalie, who had made several great saves that half, deflected the shot and it rolled to a D- pole. However, when the defender tried to pass the ball back to the keeper, Daxton Allison darted in from X and picked off the pass, faked high, and put in the ball at the goalie’s feet for a 6-5 win and to claim the top prize in the challenge bracket.
In the Elite A Division, the competition was tough. The Blackhawks didn’t back down and elected to play with this highly competitive group, instead of joining the 25 or so teams huddled in the B division. Games were so tight that it often came down to just one play making the difference. Soon-to-be college Division I, II and III players were running around all of the Del Mar lacrosse fields. On their side, Blackhawks had committed players Garrett Bullett and Garrett Michaeli (Rutgers), Carter Mannix (Marquette), Casey Rose (Colorado), Jace Thomas (Air Force) and Dalon Hampshire (BYU). Other Blackhawks players who have not yet committed to a college program stood out enough to the coaches present that they were nominated to the 2014/15 All-Star teams included Kolton Atkinson, Zach Frankoviac, and Nate Wade.
As the weekend rolled along, the games with Shamrock, Fog City (essentially St. Ignatius), FCA and LLC (La Costa Canyon) were all hard fought games that garnered the attention of college coaches from throughout the country. From the phone calls Coach Dunn received from college coaches, they get it. “Blackhawks can play lacrosse and they can play physical” was the universal opinion.
Despite the fact that at least five of Blackhawks players were fighting the flu, the team made a great showing, making it to the championship bracket for Sunday’s play. According to Dunn, “The future of the Blackhawks Elite A team looks bright … lots of talent, lots of opportunity.”
Overall, it was a great weekend of incredible competition, great weather, and good times. It was also the end of the Blackhawks teams’ club season, and now these close teammates will face each other from the other side of the field in high school competition. But they will look forward to making their mark together next summer.
For Immediate Release – Utah Blackhawks