2 Summit Tigers sign on to play Division II lacrosse in college
When 2019 Summit High School graduate Max Duxbury left the Tigers lacrosse program for Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Max’s younger brother, Andrew, lost the one guy who could challenge him at Summit practices. Or so it seemed.
Toward the end of that 2019 season, a young, small and unassuming sophomore named Will Wagner took the step up and scored a game-winning goal versus Eagle Valley. It was Wagner’s key moment en route to becoming a strong enough player that, like Andrew Duxbury, he would earn an offer to play Division II lacrosse in college.
An attackman, Wagner’s rise as one of Summit’s most skilled players also set the table for him to challenge Duxbury, the longstick defensive midfielder, in practices over the next two years.
“Out of all of the people, he’s never been the biggest or most intimidating player on the team, but I got to give it to him, he’s one tough kid,” Duxbury said. “And he cares. Every single practice, he’d never shy away. When we would get done with practice, he would pretty much say, ‘Thank you for improving my skill.’ Some players I’d check on their arms, and they’d say they don’t want to play anymore. But Will will do it day after day to get better.”
Wagner is regarded as by far the most improved player in recent Tigers boys lacrosse history.
The two athletes each will play Division II lacrosse in college with Duxbury joining his brother at Westminster in Utah and Wagner earning a spot at Adams State University in Alamosa.
For their Summit High and 10th Mountain Lacrosse club head coach Matty Marks, each of their individual college signings is an accomplishment for the program.
The passionate and candid Marks knows Summit High — and some other Western Slope high schools — might not historically get respect, as evidenced by Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction passing up on guys like the Duxburys and Wagner. But Marks is hopeful the performances of passionate, committed lacrosse players in conference games versus Colorado Mesa will open some eyes of the quality of lacrosse that is manifesting high in the mountains.
Neighbors in Silverthorne, Wagner and Duxbury had different approaches to their recruiting processes.
Because Wagner is also a talented big mountain skier for Team Summit, the senior wanted to find a school where he could ski while also taking his lacrosse career to the next level. Marks described Wagner as a kid who is competitive in anything he does.
In between coaching Ski Club Vail athletes Thursday evenings through flips and tricks on trampolines, Marks painted a picture of the athlete and person Wagner is. Marks, a guy who excelled in park skiing and lacrosse as a kid, said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Wagner on the Freeride World Tour if he committed to big mountain.
Case in point: Last winter, Wagner returned to lacrosse practice on Monday after a weekend where he went viral on Barstool Sports for tomahawking down a mountain after taking a hard fall during a contest. It didn’t surprise his coach, or his teammates, like Duxbury.
“Will’s got the speed, the athleticism, the stick skills, the lacrosse IQ — but more than anything, he’s a mountain kid,” Marks said. “Both with Andrew and Will, their love for the game and their willingness to play the game at a high level at the best of their ability, they bought in pretty strongly. They know there’s a right way and wrong way. And Will is so coachable. He has a respect for not only himself and his coaches but for the process.”
For Duxbury, Marks said the senior went out of his way this past year to expose himself to the highest level of high school lacrosse. He did so with the Wasatch club out of Utah, a squad that traveled east to Maryland to see where it stood up against the nation’s best.
Duxbury said he saw the pace and advanced nature of the game. It also helped his lacrosse journey come full circle, as he first picked up a stick at 5 years old thanks to his uncle, an alum of Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, who got the brothers lacrosse gear.
Ever since, he’s been committed to the sport, including driving five days a week to train with 10th Mountain in Vail. It’ll pay off when he joins his brother again at Westminster.
“They grew up battling in the backyard, and they didn’t necessarily learn from each other,” Marks said. “They learned together.”
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