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Westlake Thunder Overcome Lehi in Overtime for UHSLL Boys Class C Championship

The Pioneers of Lehi met against their rivals, the Westlake Thunder, at Brighton High School in Sandy early Saturday morning to compete for the UHSLL Boys Class C Championship. The morning began with high winds and a consistent downpour of rain, which would eventually turn into blue skies. After an intense battle the Thunder took home the championship trophy with a 5-4 overtime win.
Gameplay began a bit slow with a handful of turnovers, likely due to the weather. Westlake was able to take several missed or saved shots before Lehi finally got their chance at the goal about halfway through the quarter. Finally with only 1:34 left on the clock the Pioneers were able to connect. Westlake tied it up with only 3 seconds left on the clock.
Westlake Head Coach Erick Wiedmeier discussed the weather at the beginning of the game, “It started out having a big effect on the game. The heads of the stick and the crosse get loose or stretched out; the field’s wet. It was a little bit difficult to play, but I think both teams played well during that wet weather.”
The second quarter seemed to be the exact opposite of the first. Westlake faceoff midfielder Brock Payne won the opening faceoff and dodged his way to the cage to score the Thunder’s second goal just 13 seconds in. Lehi answered back within a few minutes, tying the game at two. Less than a minute later attackman Parker Smith picked up a rebounded shot to quickly put the Thunder back on top.
At the halfway mark, the weather appeared that it was going to improve. Westlake scored early in the quarter, going up 4 to 2. The remainder of the quarter was filled with an increased volume of shots by both teams, but neither goalie was willing to allow a goal. Westlake keeper Jordan Heer played particularly well, making some key saves that kept the Thunder on top going into the final quarter.
With the rain virtually gone and the wind dying down, Lehi was able turn the game into a close, high intensity contest. Within the first minute, Pioneer attackman Braden Smith scored, assisted by BJ Bettinson, the only assist of the entire game.
Play continued back and forth with no goals until the 2:55 mark. After missing a powerful shot, Lehi Attackman Jordan Bursach ripped high putting the game back at a four-point tie. With 16 seconds left on the clock, Westlake had the opportunity to score but could not get past Lehi defenders and the game advanced into overtime.
Westlake dominated possessions early in the overtime period, taking several attempts for the win. Finally, Westlake defender-turned-attackman Austin Whiting converted a high bounce shot into the championship winning goal.
By the end of the game 5 different Thunder players scored the 5 team goals. Coach Wiedmeier talked about this. “I stressed to the team the whole season to be a band of brothers and to play as team. If you look at our stats we don’t have an individual player that stands out. We have several players that work together and share the ball.”
“They held the ball when they needed to hold the ball.” said Coach Wiedmeier about how the team was able to pull off the win. “They played together. They won the ground balls. They all helped each other out.”
Season recap: Westlake ended their regular season with an 8-7 record, with no losses to other Class C teams. The Thunder defeated Wasatch 10-2 in the quarterfinals after a first round bye. They beat Viewmont 7-6 in overtime in the semifinals. In just three seasons as a team the Westlake Thunder pulled off their first championship with this win over Lehi.

  1. We really gotta figure out something for C Class. I will never respect that Championship.

    1. I agree when it’s an established team like Bountiful, but for a Westlake, Box Elder, Wasatch, etc. something like this can go a long way in helping build the program and the lacrosse culture at the school.

      1. I can see your point and it’s validity but it’s just not a championship I can get behind, I’m all for seeing teams build and be successful for the long term.But it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to call a team a C Class State Champ.

        1. I appreciate that you can see the validity of Steve’s point. Thank you for that.
          My questions for you, does a 1A, 2A, 3A, or 4A State Champ leave a bad taste in your mouth for any other sport? Is it 5A or bust? What about Class B championship? Is Waterford not deserving of your respect or the title of State Champ? If they are, how and why does that differ from Class C? Both are State Champs of their division; but neither are truly the best in state as neither would have taken down Brighton in a game…no one did this year!
          Our current playoff and divisions of Championships (A, B, or C) is the way the UHSLL elected to setup the league structure and playoffs. If the Class C or B schools did not have a structured, league approved playoff system, then got together, formed their own playoff; and proclaimed a state championship I would see your point more clearly…kind of like the NIT vs. NCAA basketball championships. As it is part of a UHSLL approved system, let’s congratulate and respect the players for playing their hand, pushing through, and growing the sport of lacrosse in our state!
          Hopefully everyone understands the fact there is not single team ranked 33-44 in power rankings who wanted to round out the bottom 10 of the league. I can speak for a fact the Westlake program wanted to crack the B class and see what we could do in the playoffs of the B division. We held-up pretty well against some and lost to others throughout the season. We knew it would have been a long shot to win-out; but, we wanted to see!
          Unfortunately, we were less than 1 point away from this goal when the final LAXPower rankings came out. In fact the two teams that were ahead of us within that point (Timpview and Lehi) were teams we had beaten, on their home fields, this season. Unfortunately, this fact isn’t weighted (or not heavily enough) in the ranking system for us to surpass them. For all intents and purposes, one could argue we “should have” been in the Class B playoffs much the same way it was argued Bingham “should have” been in the Class A playoffs. I can tell you right now, while we are excited about the Championship, and will use it to grow our lacrosse culture at Westlake, we already have sights set on the next steps and moving-up!
          So Jean, before completely dismissing something positive and using terms like “bad taste” or “never respect”; please look at the bigger picture…growth! We are in a position as a lacrosse community that we all need allies and all the camaraderie we can muster. We need to celebrate all the wins, work through all the losses, truly support the younger programs, and keep pushing the growth and expansion of the sport overall. We will all, together continue to refine our approach to what that growth and expansion look like.
          Until then, CONGRATULATIONS to Brighton Boys, Park City Girls, Waterford Boys, Juan Diego Girls, and Westlake Boys Varsity teams for their respective State Championships!!!

          1. Didnt even bother to read that whole thing.Class C playoff is a joke, West lake didnt earn a spot in class B because they played a super soft schedule. How many B class and A Class TEAMS DID THEY BEAT zero, zlich nada In fact they only played two or three teams with a winning record and got beat So save your moral high ground stance and really look at the big picture. Class C hurts the League more than it helps it.I will never respect it as it dosent deserve it.Time to rinse this bad taste out.

          2. Ok Jean, since I’m pretty sure I’m talking to someone who is jaded. Most likely due to lack of playoff success for themselves or someone their close to, I will be brief since it won’t make much difference since you seem already on your way to becoming an “Uncle Rico” talking about if you’d gotten the ball you woulda Won State! Westlake played 3 class A schools and 5 class B with Wins and Overtime Games against Class B school’s. It would not have been a stretch for them to have been in Class B playoffs and if one or two things had gone differently in a few of their class B games they would have been a pretty good seed in it. But thats not how they Worked out, so they beat Everyone in Class C. They played until there were no teams left to beat. And seeing as they are only graduating a handful of guys next year should be pretty interesting in class B

          3. Lets see Back to back state champs div 1 Jr.and Sr. yr. of High School, State defensive MVP in D1, National Champ in college. so not Jaded just dont think we need that championship game or bracket for a c class, my problem isnt with West lake they did what was asked and are a byproduct of a crappy state playoff system. I just cant support anyone who wins Cclass as a legit state champ.

          4. In the current system, what if were just an 8 team bracket that decided the State Champion? There will likely never be a team outside of the Top 8 that could legitimately win the State Championship. The other teams can decide if they want to continue or not in a pool play or big single elimination tournament that isn’t dubbed as the championship. Think NCAA – NIT Tournaments.

          5. Yep, I in no way want to make it seem like I have anything against a specific team, far from it. I really want to see LAX in every school at all levels. But I also want a legitimate State Champ as well as a respected system that helps Utah be respecred along with being considered top tier nationally. I’ve seen the strong personality’s dictate the way things are ran in the past and I can also see how the League is trying to get away from that currently as well.I have just been around long enough to feel like there has been enough time to solve this long ago.

          6. One thing I think you could do is have an established Division-I and Division-II (which you could reevaluate every two years), but also allow a team not in Division-I to play up into the D-I playoffs if they’d like to (for example, if Fremont were a D-II team this season, but they clearly had a top-10 team and wanted to compete for a true state championship).

          7. In my original post and the point I’m trying to stress is C Class state champ is a joke, I hold no grudges towards any school for doing what their asked to do. I just hate having a C Class period.

          8. Look, I’ll ignore the snarkiness and the fact you didn’t really look at Westlake’s full body of work.
            I get it, you don’t like the setup. In all seriousness, are you wanting a fully playoff where everyone plays everyone and the winner comes out on top; or, are you only interested in the Top 16 teams making a bid for a state title?
            Second, can the league benefit from a different structure? Maybe. The league (all coaches, program representatives, and Executive Board) voted to run this route. You assert it hurts a league that voted for it. I’d love to hear your solution. In fact, based on your strong feelings, I’d recommend you present a solution to the UHSLL and convince them to change.
            Lastly, I’ll keep the moral high ground since that ground is helping me navigate a pretty peaceful life where I look at and celebrate the positives of those around me…not just my own. Westlake will continue to grow and we will become a program that will go toe-to-toe with everyone. When we’re there, we’ll be happy to reach out to new programs, cheer them on and celebrate their victories as they grow and become an established program. You see, for us, that is the bigger picture. More growth, more opportunity, and more programs so we all benefit.

          9. 12 Team play off one state champ until we go a 3a, 4a ,5a, route all this ABC class stuff is ridiculous.And west lakes full body work really, lost to ALL teams with a winning record they played and only played FOUR teams with more wins than losses.

          10. Appreciate the dialogue. Read the other comments and we’ll just stick to the solution solving…
            What about a 32 team playoff? Either one bracket fully-seeded or two 16 seed brackets? If people wanted we could have two play-in games where 31 plays 34 and 32 plays 33 for the last two spots (not because of where WL finished, 34th, rather how close 31-34 were in final rankings and 34th had beaten 33rd and 32nd head-to-head).
            I’ve built a bracket to propose both of these solutions to UHSLL next year. Most likely the final four would have been the same four teams as Class A; however, we put it all out there and see what sticks. This gives the playoffs more chance of parody, top level “Class B” programs, who everyone thinks should have been A, a chance to prove themselves better than the power-rankings ranked them.
            I like this option rather than a top 12-16 team playoff only due to the size of our league and the huge differences in program tenure. Solves for the single state champion you’re looking for and still gives younger, growing programs something to shoot for.

          11. I can see why having more teams involved seems like a solution for more teams to finish the year in the playoffs but 34 or 32 teams pushes it for me. I’d like to see the league start later to allow H.S. bBall to finish and maybe go to 24 team playoff thats still half the league roughly.and look I meant no disrespect to any team that wins Class C its just not something I personally see as a legit thing just me. So dont take it personally But We definitely need a change to the current system. The thing is I’ve been around Utah Lacrosse since it became a League in the 90’s. I’m more involved than you know I promise,And the one thing that is always the same is its never the same practically year to year. Remember just s few years ago we had TWO boys high-school leagues what was that all about, I know and it made me sick. I like the fact you are going to present your plan to the league but before you do show it to some coaches and respective boards and get them to back you up first. Maybe present it to them at the Convention.

          12. That’s great context. I appreciate the “no disrespect” comment and do understand your point-of-view and regard of the current system. Definitely not perfect.
            Fair points on the 32 team system and play-ins; and, appreciate the advice on soliciting feedback.
            With growth comes growing pains and I think that is why we are seeing what we are seeing year-to-year (stated based on my limited knowledge of jumping into all of this 3 years ago).
            If we maintain that a long-term vision we want is to see high-school, varsity lacrosse legitimately recognized in the state then we will have to all stick together and continue these dialogues. It can’t be about what’s only good for top level programs or inversely how we “cater” to growing programs; it has to be a system, while imperfect, that keeps us growing together.
            Shoot me a note sometime (email is with the league). Would love to pick your brain on all things lacrosse.

          13. we really are not growing we are maintaining at 40 some odd teams year to year, look into the history of Utah lax and you will see what i mean.(edit) and yes would like to discuss this more as well as some Good Ol lax.

          14. Jean, I don’t like the current system either, but not doing your homework (they did beat a Class-B team, and did play Class-A teams), admitting that you didn’t even read the post you’re responding to, then spouting off, doesn’t help us affect change, and it doesn’t do you any favors.
            What Greg posted in no way indicated that Westlake would have done well in Class-B, simply that they had a goal to get there, and that he, too, has some issues with the current system (just like you, common ground, you agree). Let’s have an adult discussion about how to make the system better to both grow the sport and reward those teams that deserve to be recognized for being great.

          15. Look you’re very diplomatic and I agree that blowing off a parents rant about how great it is to build a program with a nonsensical state championship will help a new team was a bit childish,but what if Bountiful won or Highland or Viewmount. Really seems like we need to have One system where only the top 12-16 teams make it to the playoffs, we live in a world that supports kids best efforts and at the Varsity level thats not acceptable.In my opinion the everyone gets a tee shirt and trophy makes me wanna puke. And to new teams I see the appeal of winning a State championship I really do but a watered down diluted one doesn’t sit well with me. This isnt about what I think, its about whats best for Lacrosse to be taken seriously by outsiders. Try to explain a class C championship in any other league and watch people laugh.

          16. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, but by much of the same logic, with the way things are set up right now, Class-B is a joke as well. What if Brighton has a down year next year and ends up as Class-B champs–are we going to celebrate that? Every other organized sport in the known world (with the exception of Oregon high school lacrosse, who we stole this system from) establishes before the season who will be playing for what championship.
            Call them divisions, call them classes, call them what you will, but establish for teams what they’re playing for before the season starts. I’d have 12- or 16-team D-I, everyone else in D-II, and a developmental division with its own mini-tourney where the winner plays in the D-II actual playoffs (because we’re still trying to grow the sport, it would be great for a developing team to be able to claim a “division championship” without the rest of the state having to feel like they’ve been cheated out of something).

          17. Yes I dont like Class B any more than Class C but I can see its necessity to appease the audience ,but I opened enough cans of worms today.I like your system and see more potential in that than the current one. I think honestly some people are afraid to speak up and share ideas, We should move away from this way asap. I really am in tune with a D1, D2 , Develop system giving teams a chance to move up or down.

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