Offensively, Summit's boys' lacrosse team isn't missing much depth. It's on the defensive end of the field that there are gaps to fill this season.
"There's alot of rebuilding going on there," head coach Karl Barth said. "We're going to try to move some kids and see what the returning youngsters have to offer."
Nolan Rookey is returning, as is goalie Garrett Tousey. Danny Proctor has experience in longstick middie defense, as does Josh Braun. Jordan Nelson is returning as the team's back-up goalie.
"It gives us that to build around," Barth said. He's hopeful Rookey and Braun will head up the defense as the most experienced on that end of the field.
"The biggest itch to prove is Garrett Tousey," Barth added. Tousey started last year, and when he was on, he was on fire.
"He's one of the best - if not the best - in our conference," Barth said. "When he's on, he's an unbelievable goalie. He's working on the things that will give him consistency to be lights out. That can make a world of a difference to a team."
Offensively, the team struggled somewhat, but Barth attributes much of that to young players.
"They're all pretty much back," he said, though, "It will take a few weeks to get up to full strength because a lot of them are alpine and Nordic skiers attending nationals."
George Gruber, Evan Feldman and Sean Farley are names that stick out to Barth for offensive cohesion.
"So far, Sean Farley looks great," the coach said. "A year of playing quarterback hasn't hurt him in terms of maturing as an athlete."
Gruber and Feldman are returning all-conference players.
The team hasn't practiced outside yet, which can be a disadvantage to a team that also doesn't have a committed year-round program.
Though the conference hasn't changed (they're still in the Mountain Division), the team still faces uncertainty. There are six strong teams in the division (Steamboat, Battle Mountain, Grand Junction, Fruita, Aspen and Summit), but some teams could surprise, Barth said, like Durango, which was "massively" improved last year over the year prior.
Steamboat will likely remain at the top, the coach said.
"They're the premier team in our league right now, and I don't see that changing. They've got the respect of the Front Range," he said, adding that the Sailors made through the first few rounds of playoffs last year.
One change is more opportunity in the playoffs, now that the Colorado High School Activities Association has created 5A and 4A categories. There are still good teams to contend with, but now, two or three teams will make it out of the 4A Mountain Division instead of just one. And when they get there, the smaller teams won't immediately be matched with the "Regis' and Cherry Creeks of the world," Barth said.
Summit went 6-9 last year.
"I expect a whole lot better than that (this year), but then again, we expected more last year," Barth said. "We lost a few games we should have won last year."
Like Battle Mountain, in which Summit fought back but then lost traction.
The time Summit scored "with no time left" to beat Aspen at Aspen was a highlight, Barth remembered. He said the team has the potential to finish in the top half of the division.
"You just gotta finish the game," he said, adding that he sees a more mature attitude on the field this year. "Our focus has been on lessons learned from last year. You can't just show up and hope the game goes well. You have to prep all season and work together on and off the field."