Several recruiters were in attendance including NCAA D-II Rollins, Colorado Mesa, Notre Dame de Namur, Dominican and Adams State. From the NCAA D-III ranks, Kenyon, Hendrix, Rhodes, Carthage, Amherst, Tufts, Ohio Wesleyan and SVU among others. Arizona State, Grand Canyon and Concordia were representing the MCLA.
Utah StarzThe Starz Elite team has turned heads all season and this tournament was no different. The crew has been together for the last two years, racking up wins left and right, including a second place finish at the 2012 Sonoma Shootout.
The Starz were missing one of its key attackmen, Aaron Fjeldsted (Lone Peak), who broke his foot during a light practice on Friday. The Starz offense was seamless with strong midfield play from Jake Stout (Lone Peak), Michael Perry (Pleasant Grove), Nick Grogg (Juan Diego), Jace Thomas (Bountiful), Bridger Fisher (Olympus), Gabe Rechsteiner (Judge) and Casey Rose (Juan Diego). The attack for the Starz consisted of Grant Pierce (Judge), Matt Graney (Juan Diego) and Luke Graney (Juan Diego) with some additional time on attack from Perry and Cody Graden (Canada). Each of these attack had highlight type goals whether by dodge, with time and space or running textbook fast breaks. The offense was possessing the ball and making good decisions drawing out the defense to allow for quick cuts and alleys for dodging.
On the defensive end, Riley Rose (Juan Diego) in goal had a great tournament. He was seeing the ball well and made a number of point blank stops, cleared the ball quick to push the transition and was generally aggressive in goal. The defense of Mason Barnhill (Alta), Carter Mannix (Juan Diego), Bo Long (Juan Diego), Matt Jungeman (Juan Diego) and Parker Carson (Juan Diego) allowed the fewest goals of all Elite A teams. They were collectively playing solid as a unit with good communication and too many caused turnovers to count.
At the end of day one, after defeating LA Lazers, Cali Lax All-Stars and St. Louis Samurai, the Starz earned the No. 1 seed overall going into the playoffs. This is the first time a Utah team had been seeded as No. 1 in the Elite division. Sunday morning games have been traditionally difficult for Starz and they drew a talented Canadian team from a lacrosse academy high school known as VI Seaspray. The Seaspray played physical lacrosse, trying to get the Starz out of their rhythm. The Starz kept their poise and punished Seaspray with long possessions and quick passes to keep the defense on their heels. The Starz won the game 9-6, but not without first getting into a skirmish after the Seaspray players attacked Rose after he had thrown a clearing pass. In the semi-final game against the eventual champion ADVNC Elite, the Starz came out flat and without any energy. ADVNC scored a couple goals early and the Starz struggled to recover their energy and momentum. When Utah would attack and score, ADVNC seemed to have a response and never let the Starz get in the game.
“In hindsight, that game [against Seaspray] took a lot out of us both physically and mentally,” said Starz Coach Dan Mannix. “The team we lost to [ADVNC] in the Semis had 10-11 NCAA D-1 commits and they went on to win the championship. Words can’t express how proud I am of the 6 seniors who played their last game for the Utah Starz. They are a ground breaking group of young men who have collectively opens doors for every younger Utah player who aspires to play lacrosse in college.”
The Starz Middle School team won the Championship after beating the RC team in sudden death overtime.
Utah BlackhawksThe Blackhawks are full of strong, athletic middies and a strong defense. The strength of the team was in their quick, transition attack style of play which led to numerous fast break opportunities. Providing a core group of middies were Luke Fairman (Brighton), Logan Lund (Brighton), Chase Oviatt (Alta), Josh McNall (Alta), Ben Richard (Herriman), Ian Kadish (Skyline) and Spencer Merrifield (Pleasant Grove). Their collective effort both on defense and offense led to unsettled situations with the Blackhawks taking advantage with strong dodging and quick feeds to the crease. Quinton Mathie (Brighton) in goal was solid and had a good defense in front of him with Arthur Walters (Alta), Garrett Michaeli (Alta), Nick Carrigan (Brighton) and Garrett Bullet (Alta) at LSM. The Blackhawks went 1-2 in pool play, losing to a talented NorCal Blue Chip and a stacked RC Elite team.
“Our teams played really well,” said Blackhawks Director Mike Isbell. “The kids had a great time.”
All-Stars / All Tournament Team
As a result of their exceptional play, there were six players from Utah selected for the All-Star games which drew from the teams entered in the Elite divisions. There were two All-Star games to accommodate all the recruiters, the games were divided by year of graduation. An All-Star game for the 2013/2014 and one for the 2015/2016 were held on neighboring fields to allow spectators an opportunity to watch both games. Additionally, Ben Richard and Jace Thomas made the All Tournament team. The Utah players selected for the All-Star games included:
2013/2014 – Mason Barnhill, Luke Fairman, Carter Mannix with Grant Pierce as an alternate.
2015/2016 – Garrett Bullet, Bubba Fairman, Garrett Michaeli, Nate Wade
Jace Thomas also received recognition from Inside Lacrosse by being named to the IL Fine 15 for the Adrenaline Challenge.
Last but not least, Connor Pyle (Alta) was invited by Arizona State Head Coach Chris Malone to play with his competitive team Arizona Burn. Pyle proved to be a good addition as he added some extra fire power from outside and drew a lot of attention from defenders when around the crease.
Starz Elite Silver
US 12 – Samurai 3
US 9 – LA Lazers 5
US 9 – Cali*Lax All-Stars 2
US 9 – Seaspray 6
US 6 – ADVNC 15
Starz Elite Blue
US 3 – Burnaby 9
US 5 – LaxDawgs 7
US 6 – 395 Select 4
US 7 – Centennial 9
Blackhawks 10 – New Wave Blue 7
Blackhawks 5 – Blue Chip NorCal 7
Blackhawks 2 – RC Starz 12
Blackhawks 7 – Vegas Starz 5
Blackhakws 10 – Hooligan 4
Blackhawks 7 – Force U16 5
Blackhawks 11 – Team NorCal 1
Blackhawks 6 – South Sound Starz 10
Blackhawks 4 – Seaspray 12
Blackhawks 4 – Vegas Starz 5