This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most of the players as the world only comes together once every four years to compete on the lacrosse field The next event is scheduled for 2018 in England. All of the teams understood this opportunity and played some of the best lacrosse of their lives, especially the U17s, who were crowned World Champions.
Utah Elite was created specifically to play at this tournament by club coaches Mike Isbell (Blackhawks), Brandon Horoba (Blackhawks), Marty Wescott (Advantage), Mike Calvert (Top Guns/Utah Starz) and Jason Matheny (Patriot Starz). UE's mission was simple: put Utah lacrosse and Utah lacrosse players on the national map.
After the success of the teams and the enthusiasm displayed by the players, coaches, and parents, Utah Elite is here to stay. With Sept. 1 resetting all age groups for tournaments the next U11, U13, U15 and U17 teams, the squads will look very different, but UE is confident the results will be even stronger as more clubs have pledged to send their top players to the tryouts to be part of next year's three-tournament schedule.
Utah Elite U17 Record: 7-0 (#3 Seed) Result: World Champions Coaches: Todd Faiella (NRG & Park City) and Nick Gradinger (NRG & Park City)
"Heading into the tournament the players had one goal in mind, make the world take notice of and talk about Utah lacrosse," Faiella said. "The drive and determination displayed by the team throughout the tournament was impressive. Dalon Hampshire and Sean Edwards were phenomenal in goal.
"Offensively, the team played unselfishly and consistently put teammates in a position to score. For a tournament team that hasn't played together much, the ball movement was nothing short of incredible. Bubba Fairman, Chandler Wescott and Josh Stout led an attack line that was easily the best seen in Denver outside of the top three world teams (USA, Canada, Iroquois Nation).
Utah Elite U15 Record: 4-2 (#3 Seed) Result: Lost in second round of playoffs Coaches: Jay Fairman (Blackhawks & Bingham), James Meyer (Blackhawks & Park City) and Jeff Brzoska (Blackhawks & Park City)
"The Utah Elite U15 team jelled quickly in pool play, earning a #3 seed for the playoffs after a perfect 3-0 record while only allowing six goals. After winning its first playoff game, the team ran into ADVNC from NoCal and, after taking a 5-3 lead into the half, the old saying that 'lacrosse is a game of runs' came true," coach Jay Fairman said. "ADVNC scored the next five goals en route to a 9-6 win and ending UE's run to match the U17 team's championship.
"We received outstanding goalie play from Max Sturgill and Jackson Babka. Our defensive charge was led by Chris Belcher, Noah Meyer (Park City) and Tate Merrill. Offensively, Andrew Karner, Brock McKiney, Chubba Reese and Jerrin Cutler all found the back of the net with regular frequency. This was an extraordinary group of kids and I am honored to have the opportunity to coach them. They kept me laughing both on and off the field all tourney long."
"While the loss was tough, the boys played with effort, class and poise," coach James Meyer added. "Most importantly, they developed new relationships among teammates they normally would never have had the chance to play with and became better players throughout the weekend. After a year away from coaching in Park City, it was great to be back and see how much P.C. players like Duncan Halsey, John Luebbers and Rhino Smith have grown as players and young men. The future is very bright for P.C., Utah Elite and Utah lacrosse."
Utah Elite U13 Record: 3-3 (#33 Seed) Result: Lost in second round of playoffs Coaches: Mike Calvert (Top Guns & Alta) and Bruce Tucker (Patriot Starz & American Fork)
"The Utah Elite 13s had a great time in Denver. With an overall record of 3-3, the boys felt great about where they are at and where they have the potential to go," coach Mike Calvert said. "We were tested early in our pool play with two teams from top areas of the county, Denver Elite and The Factory (California) but the boys responded with impressive close games. Our defenses was anchored by our goalie Oliver Dalrymple and defenseman Brayden Kenny. Offensively, our team shared the ball well with standout play from Chase Tucker, Zac Thacker, Caleb Wynn and Max McWhorter. The loss of Park City's Connor Hales to injury really hurt our attack from the left side, but that's part of the game. This is a talented group and all of the boys had outstanding performances and excelled in the atmosphere at the FIL World Games. As a coach, I really enjoyed the chance to work with such a great group of kids. The future is bright for Utah Lacrosse."
Utah Elite have many people and organizations to thank for this amazing opportunity and experience: U.S. Lacrosse (the organizers of the 2014 FIL World Lacrosse Championships), the officials, our opponents, ULA, UHSLL, Adrenaline/GULL, ULNews, Brae at Storm Lacrosse, Geri at Z-Designs, Mike at SunLitho, the entire Utah lacrosse club community, players, parents, coaches and fans. Utah Elite would also like to congratulate their fellow Utah players that played for the U15 212 Select team that reached the championship game and the U13 Utah Lightning that had a strong showing, finishing with a 4-1 record.