Lacrosse squads continue to impress
In what has become as inevitable as development disputes and dog drama in Park City, the Park City High School girls’ lacrosse team won yet another state championship this season, extending its run to three years in a row. Though such dominance has come to be expected from the Miners, it’s important to make sure we don’t take it for granted.
On Saturday, May 21, the Miners convincingly defeated American Fork 16-7 in the championship match at Brighton High School, thus claiming their third-straight Utah state lacrosse title. After losing to that same American Fork team by one goal on March 25 in Park City, the Miners rattled off 10 straight wins to reach the top of the sport once again. In that 10-game stretch, Park City outscored its opponents 162-54, leaving no doubt as to who was the best team in Utah.
Though the results speak for themselves, this year’s title was actually a surprise for the Miners. Written off by many at the start of the year after graduating several key seniors from last year’s championship squad, the Miners featured freshmen and sophomores in many important positions. Yet, in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, the underclassmen rallied behind seniors Marina Mayo and Olivia Andreini. Following the loss earlier in the year to American Fork, the Miners regrouped and came together to play up to their top-level potential.
As Utah continues to grow as a hotbed for lacrosse talent, the Miners continue to stay ahead of the curve with both the boys’ and girls’ teams. Though the Miner boys lost in this year’s semifinals to eventual-champion Brighton, Park City players continue to shine.
Senior Jackson Burton will take the field for the Yale Bulldogs next year. Meanwhile, current sophomore Beau Pederson (class of 2018) has committed to play for Princeton following his graduation. Two years ago, the Miners sent Carson Dutkanych off to Albany, where he redshirted for the Great Danes. A number of other players from the past two years, including several from the 2014 title-winning squad, have also gone on to play at the college level. On the girls’ side, Hannah Hyatt, class of 2015, is currently playing for Boston College.
Much of the credit for the high school teams’ success goes to the coaching staffs. Current boys’ head coach Nick Gradinger played at Cornell, where he was a three-year starting defenseman. Current girls’ head coach Kassandra Lemons was a team captain for Division I Saint Mary’s College.
But both Lemons and Gradinger are the first to say that they are lucky to have such polished players coming to them at the high school level.
Indeed, several youth teams claimed their own state titles in 2016, making it easy to envision even more success for the high school squads.
As the varsity girls prepare for a run at a fourth-straight title in 2017 and the boys look to reach the finals for the third time in four years, it’s worth saying thank you to the coaches at both the varsity and youth levels for continuing to ensure Park City’s place at the top of Utah lacrosse.