The event was held in Sonoma, California on the campus of Sonoma State University. These two events brought over 80 recruiters to watch the lacrosse players, including 2012 NCAA National Champion Loyola, Denver University, Duke, Maryland, Notre Dame, and many others including Utah’s Westminster College.
The Adrenaline Showcase invited 170 of the top players from California, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Texas, and Minnesota. Those selected from Utah included 10 players: Mason Barnhill (Alta), Garrett Bullet (Alta), Jace Thomas (Bountiful), Nick Grogg (Juan Diego), Matt Jungemann (Juan Diego), Bo Long (Juan Diego), Carter Mannix (Juan Diego), Grant Pearce (Judge), Aaron Fjeldstead (Lone Peak) and Carson Dutkanych (Park City). Some highlights from the games covered included Grant Pearce averaging several points a game and an unstoppable catch and shoot, Jace Thomas face-off domination of all who dared step to the X, Mason Barnhill defense causing turnovers and with no outlet running through an entire team to score, Nick Grogg driving the middle of the field for scores and assists, Carter Mannix tight defense and solid play with next level lacrosse IQ, and an extraordinary two man game between Aaron Fjelstead and Quinton Eisler.
Coming into the team event, the competitive travel teams with history and ranking to support new runs for championship in the Elite A Division were teams such as the Mavericks, RC Elite Silver, OC Kings Purple, LaxDawgs Brown, Zip It!, Brady’s Bunch, Denver Elite, Arizona Burn Orange, and Golden State Titans White. There were a total of 25 teams competing for the Elite A championship. The Utah Starz Elite team was Utah’s entry in this division.
The Utah Starz Elite team drew a tough pool play division, which included three of the top seeded teams in OC Kings Purple, RC Elite Silver, and Denver Elite 2013. Through tough pool play, the Utah Starz team finished 4-1-1, losing only to an Arizona Force team after Utah had finished playing the three higher ranked teams. With that record, Utah squeaked into the playoffs as the final 8th seed. Their first playoff game was scheduled Sunday morning against the previous champion, LaxDawgs Brown. The midfield play of Jake Stout, Kyle Baldassari, Jace Thomas and Casey Rose kept Utah in an offensive attack mode and putting the LaxDawgs defense on its heels. Utah’s defense of Matt Jungemann, Mason Barnhill, Carter Mannix, Bo Long and Riley Rose in goal kept the LaxDawgs offense frustrated, causing repeated turnovers from defensive pressure. Utah won the game 6-3 and advanced to the semifinals to meet the No. 4 seed Seattle Starz 2013. From the start of the game, Utah scored first and didn’t look back defeating the Seattle team 9-6.
Utah proceeded to the championship game against Zip It! The Zip It! team is a prior year champion of the Shootout, the team is based in Nevada and draws largely from the No. 1 high school team in Nevada, Coronado. However, Alex Day and Tommy Maddox found their way onto the Zip It! team. It’s offense draws largely from the two Eissler brothers Kieran and Quinton. Kieran Eissler has committed to play with John Hopkins next year. The championship game boiled down to two halves. At the conclusion of the first half it was 10-2 for Zip It! Rather than fold, Utah relaxed offensively, possessed the ball and started enjoying the game. With two minutes remaining, the score was tied 10-10, and a minute later was tied again at 11-11. After a timeout and with 24 seconds left Utah’s Luke Graney stood at midfield and looked to create. Graney was being guarded by Eissler and looked to create from up top. Graney got a step on Eissler and drove to the middle of the field, the slide was a shy late and Graney ripped a shot that just missed. With no time left, the teams headed to overtime. In overtime, Kieran Eisler had possession, took it up top and drove with Matt Jungemann and Jake Stout bodying him and checking his stick but was able to get off a high to high laser shot from the right side scoring the winning goal.
The Draper Wolves were also at the event and were made up from players from Alta, Park City, Pleasant Grove and a few Idaho players. The team had a great run through the Elite B Division beating all they faced except a Denver Elite 2015 team that played solid defense on the fast attacking Wolves offense. Quinton Mathie played extremely well in goal and had some solid defense in front of him in Garrett Michaeli. Idaho attackmen Nick Guzzetti generated a lot of offense as did Park City’s Christian Pompoco. Luke Fairman, Logan Lund and Colby Smith dominated the midfield play for the team allowing for the offense to control time of possession and work for good offensive looks.
The Wolves entered the playoffs as the third seed drawing a Wisconsin Milkmen Elite 2013 team. The Wolves started the game quick, scoring quickly and shutting down the midfield play of the Milkmen. The Wolves won the game and moved onto the semifinals to face the team that provided them with their only previous loss, Denver Elite 2015. The game was an intense battle between two well balanced teams. The Wolves pressed the ball and worked offensive possessions. The score was back and forth with the Wolves making a late run to battle back from a small deficit to tie the game with less than two minutes left. After the tie, the teams battled back and forth with Denver gaining possession with a minute left and taking the ball to x. The Wolves defense pressured, Denver drove the left side of the goal from x, the defensive slide was a step slow and Denver scored the go ahead goal. The Wolves were unable to score and based on their record took third place in a competitive Elite B division.
Also at the Shootout were Carson Dutkanych (Park City) and Ian Kadish (Skyline) who were on the Brady’s Bunch. Westminster Offensive Coordinator Brad Lavoie was also in attendance, looking for players to boost future Griffin rosters.
Three Utah players were selected to the Adrenaline Shootout All-Star game; Matt Jungemann, Luke Graney and Luke Fairman. Graney led the All-Star players with several scores and assists. In all, Utah players represented the state of lacrosse in Utah extremely well at a very competitive weekend of lacrosse against the best players and teams the West has to offer.
Adrenaline Shootout Championship Game – Zip It! v. Utah Starz
Adrenaline Shootout All-Star Game – Matt Junemann, Luke Graney, Luke Fairman