Park City Youth Lacrosse wraps up successful spring season
A decade ago, lacrosse was about as about as popular in Park City as large-scale development. Now it is seemingly everywhere. The distinctive bright orange goals have sprouted on fields across town, Park City Lacrosse stickers are ubiquitous on vehicles, and this week more than 1,700 players from 90 teams will arrive from across the West to compete in the Park City Ski Town Shootout.
Lacrosse has become one of the largest team sports in Park City, with 460 players from kindergarten through high school participating. Lacrosse is also the fastest-growing sport in town, with 15 percent annual growth and no signs of slowing.
And as participation mounts, so do Park City’s successes. From first grade through high school, boys’ and girls’ teams posted some impressive results during the recent spring season. Despite competing against the biggest school districts in Utah, Park City’s teams posted winning records and even won division championships. Overall, Park City’s boys’ and girls’ teams from third through eighth grades compiled an aggregate win-loss record of 69-17.
Junior Girls (7th and 8th grade)
Park City fielded two girls’ teams the PC Red in the Championship Division and PC Black in Division 2. The Red team capped off a perfect season with an 11-8 win over Bingham in the finals. The team was led by head coach Glee Corsetti with assistance from Jordan Modine and Michelle Hathaway. The Black team, headed by Modine, compiled a 5-3 record.
Park City sent Marina Mayo and Livi Andreini to the Utah All-Star game, and Mayo and Jeni Gordon were selected to the prestigious U-15 Utah National Team, which will compete in the U-15 National Championships in Florida in July. Corsetti was also selected as a coach for the National Team.
With a total of 78 boys, Park City’s Juniors fielded three teams. The Black team, competing in the Championship Division, racked up an 8-1 record before facing Brighton White in the state finals, giving it a chance to avenge its only loss.
It was no easy task. Brighton dominated all season, scoring more than 10 points per game and never giving up more than 4. Behind the goaltending of Sheridan Bucholtz, outstanding face-off play from Jackson Burton, and excellent defensive coaching adjustments by assistant James Meyer, the Black team had the title in its sights. Trailing by a goal with less than three minutes remaining in the game and a raucous Park City crowd behind them, PC attackman Bubba Fairman buried a spectacular leaping shot to apparently tie the game. But the goal was disallowed for a crease violation and the game ended 5-4 Brighton.
Park City head coach Jay Fairman, who had coached the Brighton White team for the previous seven years, kept the game in perspective.
"Did you hear our crowd?" Fairman said after the game. "We may have lost, but we had more fun."
The PC Red team got off to a slow start in Division 2 play but caught fire to roll off a string of seven consecutive victories (most by hugely lopsided margins) to reach the division finals. There the team avenged a one-point season-opening loss to Waterford to capture the B division championship, 5-4. Coaches Jeff Brzoska and Steve McHenry said that a remarkable 219 players on the team scored goals over the course of the season, demonstrating a commitment to unselfish team play and a wealth of talent.
PC White, playing in the Development Division and coached by Brian Beach, Sean Tuite and Jared "Red" Rose, finished 5-3.
The Junior boys will be represented in Florida on the U-15 Utah National Team by Jackson Burton and Tobin Greenwald, who will be joined by PCHS JV players Chad Merrick and Cole and Chase Flinders. With five players going to Florida, Park City is the best-represented program on this prestigious team.
Thunder Girls (4th, 5th and 6th grades)
Park City was the only program in the state to field two Thunder Division teams, which were split equally on ability. Both teams nearly ran the table, with Park City Black, led by head coach Nick Seifert, finishing 7-1 and PC Red, led by head coach Kathy Pedersen, finishing 6-2. Both teams dominated most of their competition, putting up some heady numbers and losing three squeakers by a total of only 5 goals. Park City’s Thunder Girls assistant coaches included Elizabeth Martyn, Simone Nixon and Pete Keblish.
"If we combined the talent of our two teams, we would be scary," Seifert said. "These girls are good. They’re athletic. They pass unselfishly and play a more sophisticated system than any team we played. And we have a relatively young squad. The future of Park City Girls lacrosse is very bright."
Thunder Boys (5th and 6th grades)
The Park City Thunder Boys’ A team, led by former Park City High School and University of Utah coach Rich Leviand, assisted by long-time coaches Jerry French, Chip Pedersen and Greg Bauer, compiled a perfect 8-0 record and dominated all season. The team’s closest contest ended 9-2.
The B-Division team, coached by Derek Elbert and Bob Zanetti, finshed 3-5 and the Thunder C-Division team, coached by Alexis Brown and Rick Walterson, finished 2-6. Coach Brown noted that many of the players on this team had never played before, yet developed rapidly over the course of the season. She commended their hard-working attitudes in practice and their never-say-die approach to each game.
Lightning Boys (3rd and 4th grades)
The Lightning Boys’ leadership divided the program into three teams of equal ability that went on to compile an astonishing 21-3 record. PC 1, led by Steve Boyd, Jeff Lee and Rory Murphy, came together to win six in a row after losing its first doubleheader, while PC 2, coached by Adam Procino, Art Myshrall and Nick Onderjka, went 7-1. The PC 3 team finished the season a perfect 8-0 behind the leadership of coaches Greg Bauer and Chip Pederson.
These successes only promise an ever-brighter future for the already-successful high school teams that lost in triple-overtime in the state finals (girls) and lost by one in the quarterfinal to the eventual state champions (boys).
"Park City Youth Lacrosse started about 10 years ago, and we’ve only started to see the fruits of this system at the high school level over the past few years," said Nick Seifert, one of the leaders of PCYLO. "Our high school kids are being recruited by colleges, and kids throughout all levels are playing on several national all-star and travel teams.
"If we can continue to find great coaches, nurture our system and tap into our very athletic community, we have a chance to do very well in the coming years."
A critic of a Park City workforce or otherwise affordable housing project in Old Town said he is considering an appeal of the Park City Planning Commission’s approval of the development.