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Rocky Mountain Starz Dominate Up Lax Tournament in Maryland

Rocky Mountain Starz

For Immediate Release – Rocky Mountain Starz Lacrosse

The Rocky Mountain Sectional team of the West Coast Starz made its annual trip to Baltimore, Maryland for the Ultimate Performance Lacrosse Tournament from November 9 through 10 and completed a perfect run going 6 – 0.  This tournament boasts some of the best teams from around the U.S. and Canada competing in a two day tournament and is considered to be a prime recruiting tournament with scores of coaches from Division 1 through Division 3 in attendance.  For example, the Rocky Mountain team faced St. Xavier from British Columbia in its first game with Coach Dave Pietramala (Johns Hopkins), Charlie Toomey (Loyola), & John Tillman (Maryland), among others, in attendance and taking notes throughout the game.
Tryouts for the Rocky Mountain Sectional Team were held several months ago during the LXM event in Orem.  Most of the players were from Utah, Idaho, & Calgary.  The players who were selected for this All-Star team proved to be strong, athletic and intelligent lacrosse players.  The following are the players selected from the tryout and past West Coast Starz outings:
G – Nathan Rood (2017, Portland, OR)
G – Matt Trowbridge (2016, MICDS, St. Louis, MO)
D – Bryson Taylor (2016, Brighton)
D – Bo Long (2015, Juan Diego)
D – Carter Mannix (2014, Juan Diego)
D – Mason Barnhill (2014, Corner Canyon)
D – Jared Lister (2014, Boise, ID)
LSM – Drake Gillis (2017, Regis Jesuit, Aurora, CO)
M – Gaines Bundy (2017, MICDS, St. Louis, MO)
M – Hayden Baker (2017, Westlake, TX)
M – Maxwell Franckowiak (2017, Summit Academy)
M – Tristan Courtney (2016, Juan Diego)
M – Zackary Franckowiak (2015, Corner Canyon)
M – Kade McCormick (2015, Calgary, CAN)
F/0 M – Jace Thomas (2014, Bountiful)
A – Mike Liscombe (2016, Calgary, CAN)
A – Chandler Wescott (2015, Bountiful)
A – Matthew Graney (2015, Corner Canyon)
A – Travis Getz (2015, Calgary, CAN)
A – Cody Graden (2014, Calgary, CAN)
Game Recaps
Game 1
Opponent: St. Xavier – Calgary, Canada
Score: Rocky Mountain Starz 11 – St. Xavier 4
The games started early Saturday morning with Rocky Mountain facing off against an experienced high school varsity team in St. Xavier from Vancouver, Canada.  From the start of the game, it was clear that St. Xavier’s attackmen were not going to provide any scoring as the defense of Mason Barnhill, Carter Mannix, Bo Long, Jared Lister and Bryson Taylor completely dominated play, causing turnovers and forcing the normally sure handed Canadians to re-think their game plan.  The defense and midfield pressured relentlessly and wouldn’t let St. Xavier’s gain any momentum.  On the offensive side, Chandler Westcott quarterbacked the attack, directing the play and contributing 2 goals and 2 assists, with Matt Graney also throwing in 2 goals and 2 assists.
Game 2
Opponent: Tri-State Gold – Philadelphia and New Jersey
Score: Rocky Mountain Starz 17 – Tri-State 2
This game was dominated from start to finish by Rocky Mountain Starz.  The team was running its fast break with few errors as Bountiful’s Jace Thomas dominated at face off.  Between the first and second game Thomas didn’t lose a single face off.  Zack Franckowiak stepped in showing his speed clearing the ball and attacking the goal from up top. Starting the second half of the game Chandler Westcott scored 2 quick goals to put an end to any thought Tri-State may have had at making a second half run. Tristan Courtney contributed with a long dodge from the middle going left to right with a rip hip high to the left side of the goal.
Game 3
Opponent: Pride Lacrosse – Dulaney Lions Varsity & added star players (Baltimore, Maryland)
Score: Rocky Mountain Starz 11 – Pride Lacrosse 5
An interesting note is that the Delaney High School Varsity program is coached by a Salt Lake City native, Kyle Fiat.  Coach Fiat left Salt Lake City to play at Towson and ended up staying.  His program has been conference champions in the Maryland MSAA 4A/3A South Conference and since 2000 has been state champions in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008 and runner up in 2006, with 10 years as regional champions.
The game started off quickly with the Pride scoring first within the first minute of the game.  After settling down, Rocky Mountain started the offensive machine with Jace Thomas starting several fast breaks from face off wins, feeding Chandler Westcott for 2 quick goals, one from a rebounded shot.  The game was intense and the scoring went back and forth with Rocky Mountain leading 5-4 at half.  At half coach Dan Mannix made some adjustments to the offense and defense which showed during the second half.  To start the second half, the Pride tied the game which seemed to drive Rocky Mountain into gear.  After that score, the defense shut out the attack and it was all Rocky Mountain.  Tristan Courtney took a feed from the wing off a face off and drove down the middle for a score.  That was quickly followed up by a score from Zack Franckowiak while Rocky Mountain was man down and then another score from Mathew Graney put it away off another fast break going left to right across the crease.
Day 2
Game 4
Opponent: St. Marys Ryken – (Leonardtown, Maryland) – Washington Catholic Athletic Conference
Score: Rocky Mountain Starz 10 – St. Marys 6
This one was a highly anticipated game with both teams undefeated, attended by several Division 1 coaches and the directors for the West Coast Starz program.  The defense was pressuring out effectively, turning back a number of attacks from behind the crease and from the sides of goal.  Mason Barnhill, Carter Mannix, Bo Long and Bryson Taylor played very physical as a defensive unit, communicating slides and working well as a team.  Jared Lister shut down the middies attacking from the top.  The slides were quick and effective, causing turnover’s and a reluctance to re-attack.  This allowed for some quick turn-overs and fast break opportunities for the Rocky Mountain Starz.  The scoring was started by Zack Franckowiak assisting Matt Graney as he cut across the goal from right to left.  At half time it was 4-2, and coming out of half St. Mary’s added a quick score to bring their team within 1.  The game intensified and the teams alternated scores.  A key moment in the game came with Zack Franckowiak scoring on a man up play with a sharp rip low to high from the top hitting top left corner.   Jace Thomas won the ensuing face off, finding Max Frankowiak who dodged left, reversed direction and with a jump shot found the bottom right of the goal.  The momentum carried the Rocky Mountain Starz, but St. Mary’s wouldn’t quit.  The physical play continued, but ended when Mason Barnhill put one of St. Mary’s shooters on his back on a quick slide ending any hope St. Mary’s had of a comeback.
Game 5
Opponent: St. Christophers Saints – (Richmond, Virginia)
Score: Rocky Mountain Starz 9 – St. Christophers Saints 6
The 2011 VA State Championship Runner-Up, St. Christopher’s, came into the game hoping to break the Rocky Mountain Starz win streak, but soon found themselves down 5-1 to Rocky Mountain Starz.  Just before half, Rocky Mountain Starz went 2 men down with a 3 minute non-releasable which led to a 5-2 score at half.  The Saints took advantage at the start of the half to bring it to 5-3, but the game was just getting started for Rocky Mountain.  The Rocky Mountain squad was in a man-down situation for over half this game, but Long, Taylor, Barnhill, Mannix, and Lister never lost control and shut down several of St.C’s man-up chances.  Matthew Graney started the second half scoring with a one on one goal, followed by an assist, which made the gap too large for the home team to overcome.  St.C. had at least six players 6’2” or taller and Tristan Courtney played outstanding middie D against this big physical team.  Middie D was a staple throughout the tourney for the Rocky Mountain Starz.
Game 6
Opponent: Team United
Score: Rocky Mountain Starz 16 – Team United 3
The Up Lax staff changed the last game of the tourney for RMS and they looked to find the best possible team available to compete with us as we had handled everything thrown at us in the first 5 games.  Team United is an all-star 2014 team comprised of NY, NJ, MD, & VA players.  They thought they were playing a team from the West Coast of Florida.  Before they figured it out, they were already down 4-0.  Long time Utah Starz member and resident Calgary stud attackman, Cody Graden scored within 5 seconds of the opening face-off on an assist from Jace Thomas.  Tristan Courtney then had one of his signature coast to coast runs and found Matt Graney on the wing for a frozen rope to the upper corner.  Graden was an absolute beast at attack all tourney long and the only thing that could stop him in the first half was the turf as he sprained his ankle.  The Rocky Mountain squad was already down several players due to connecting flights and injuries.  The D and LSM positions were held down for every minute of the game by Carter Mannix, Bo Long, Bryson Taylor, and Jared Lister.  By now Jared from Idaho was one with the Utah boys.  On attack, Liscombe was out after a vicious hit at the end of the St. Christopher’s game, so when Graden went down, the Franckowiak brother’s moved up to attack and combined for several goals in the second half to put away the game.  Jace Thomas had the refs trying to change their cadence to stop him, but it didn’t work.  He was absolutely dominant!  The all senior team of Team United who were 2-0 on the day, had no idea what hit them.
STAT= RMS outscored our opponents 74-26 over the weekend.  Over half the goals-against were man-down.
Quotes
Defender Mason Barnhill: “The combination of Jace Thomas winning nearly every face-off with Matt, Chandler, Cody and Travis at attack our fast break was nearly unstoppable.  Our team was underlooked before the tournament but knowing the caliber of players on our team I knew we would do well.  We ended up being best team out there, our Utah attitude of relaxed play worked really well in bringing in the other guys from outside Utah and made for a great team.  It was a great way to end my last West Coast Starz trip.”
Defender Carter Mannix: “It’s always challenging to get together a bunch of players who have never met before, but the talent in the Rocky Mountain Region is so good that it’s a matter of a half before chemistry starts to build.”
FOS Jace Thomas: “I really enjoyed the tournament, just a bunch of good guys on the team. The teams we played were deep with good players and it was fun to go against them. My favorite moment had to be the last game when we finished 6-0.”
Head Coach Dan Mannix: “Now that I’ve coached two Rocky Mountains teams on the east coast I think this experience transcends lacrosse.  We had kids from all 4 grades, 6 states and 2 countries in Maryland, but the glue has been Utah.  I have spoken to multiple players and parents of kids from other states and they continually say that the Utah players and families have been very inclusive, which has made it easier for all.  It shows on the field as well as the Utah core blends with these great kids from other states (& Canada!) to combine for excellent lacrosse.  I am honored to have the opportunity to work with these kids.”
Photos
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