Park City LAX players win in Vegas |

Park City LAX players win in Vegas

Submitted by Jeff Brzoska,

Several Park City lacrosse players and coaches traveled to Las Vegas two weekends ago to participate in the Adrenaline Las Vegas Winter 14 tournament. Strong performances were turned in by the PC players for the Utah Blackhawks club team at all levels, including a tournament title in the under-15 seventh/eighth grade division.

The U15 7/8s went a perfect 6-0, defeating teams from Nevada, Arizona, California, Canada, Texas and Colorado. In what was easily the game of the tournament, the Blackhawks came from behind to take down the previously unbeaten Mustang Starz from British Columbia, Canada, 8-7 in the semifinals. In the finals, the team faced the No. 1 seed and undefeated Force LC 2019 from Arizona.

The team saved their best game for last, marching to a 9-2 win and the right to call themselves the champs. Park City players Connor Hales and Aiden Christensen rarely came off the field. Attackman Ben Briley and LSM Ryan Walterson contributed both offensively and defensively respectively all weekend long.

The High School B 9/10 grade team was coached by the Park City JV duo of Jeff Brzoska and Steve McHenry. The team finished with a 3-2 record with their losses coming to the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.

"Kyle Walterson from Park City had a really nice tournament for us. He showed soft hands around the crease, scoring some big goals while still playing great midfield defense," said McHenry.

The High School A 9/10 grade team was led by former Park City youth coaches James Meyer and Jay Fairman. The team finished with a 2-3 record and suffered the same fate as the HS B team, losing games to the top two seeds in their division early in the tournament before getting knocked out in the semis. Park City was represented well on the fields by players Rhino Smith, Eli Levine, John Luebbers, Noah Meyer and Josh Hales.

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The Elite B team finished the weekend with a 3-1-1 record while playing short-handed all weekend long. Due to some injuries and a nasty cold floating around the players, the team played most games with a max of 15 healthy bodies. The Park City longsticks — Tobin Greenwald, Daniel Holzrichter and Duncan Halsey — logged a ton of minutes while providing staunch defense over their five games.

The Elite A team (4-1 overall) was led by Park City High School varsity coaches Nick Gradinger and Phil Dobson. After finishing the first day of pool play as the No. 1 seed with a perfect 3-0 record, the morning of day two was not as kind. The Blackhawks were upset 6-5 in the playoffs to end their run for a second Blackhawks title for the weekend.

"Sometimes the ball just won’t go in the net. We had our chances but when we did get shots on the goal their goalie stood on his head making amazing save after amazing save," said Dobson.

The Elite As were loaded with Park City Varsity players. Attackmen Kolton Atkinson and Chad Merrick played almost every minute of every game. Chase Christensen and Cole Flinders were part of a very strong and deep midfield crew and found the back of the net often, while Chase Flinders played like one of the top LSMs in the state, as usual.

"Overall, it was a nice weekend for the Blackhawks and the Park City players," Gradinger said. "The competition was top notch, as expected at Adrenaline-run tournaments. Congrats to all the coaches and players on our U15 team, they played so consistent all weekend long and came up with a much deserved championship."

The Blackhawks are a Utah-based nonprofit lacrosse club dedicated to providing lacrosse opportunities to Utah players of all ages who want to develop and improve their skills year-round.