Defense anchors Summit High boys lacrosse in late spring season
Tigers open competition Thursday at Vail Mountain School
Summit High School varsity boys lacrosse coach Matty Marks is used to prom coming near the end of the season, not five days before the season-opener.
Such is the situation for an atypical 10-game boys lacrosse season that will stretch beyond Summit High School’s graduation. Thursday’s Summit season-opener at Vail Mountain School comes a month later than the typical start date for spring sports like lacrosse in Colorado. Lacrosse is one of several sports to have its season condensed and pushed back as part of the Colorado High School Activities Association’s four-season calendar in response to the pandemic.
With lacrosse bumped back to later in spring, Summit’s season finale is set for June 10. Summit High School graduation will take place May 29.
“It’s just going to be different, and that’s the biggest thing about all of sports this year,” Marks said. “We are grateful to have a season of some sort.”
Marks said the nature of the season has resulted in far fewer players coming out for Summit and other lacrosse programs. He said Summit has only 30 athletes between its varsity and junior varsity sides, down from 60 in recent years.
Even without the pandemic, Marks said he expected program numbers to dip some this season — maybe even close to 40 — after the departure of a large 2020 senior class. But the coach said numbers have dipped further because some kids don’t want to risk the possibility of missing graduation due to contact tracing. Marks said others are not playing this year because they don’t want to stick with the program weeks after graduation.
The coach said the situation is not unique to Summit. It’s also something other Western Slope League rivals are experiencing.
“It’s going to be about who can take what they have and play the best with what they’ve got,” Marks said.
The Summit High School boys lacrosse team practices at the Summit High School indoor field on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 in Breckenridge. | Photo by Joel Wexler / Rocky Mountain.Photography
• May 6 at Vail Mountain School, 6 p.m.
• May 12 vs. Eagle Valley, 6 p.m.
• May 15 at Steamboat Springs, 11 a.m.
• May 18 vs. Vail Mountain School, 6 p.m.
• May 22 vs. Battle Mountain, 11 a.m.
• May 27 vs. Aspen, 6 p.m.
• June 1 at Battle Mountain, 6 p.m.
• June 4 at Eagle Valley, 6 p.m.
• June 8 at Aspen, 6 p.m.
• June 10 at Steamboat Springs, 6 p.m.
• June 17 First round of state playoffs
Even though the Summit High School program was delayed in practicing until April 26, Marks said the good news is that Tigers players stuck with the game in fall, winter and spring club programming.
“The kids are not too far back,” Marks said. “It’s cool to see a lot of them have pretty good stick skills and were able to get outside before the season started and were playing by themselves.”
Marks said Summit’s season and style of play will be anchored around senior longstick defensive midfielder Andrew Duxbury. Marks said the team will use the future Westminster College player all over the field.
“His ability to create offense from the defense is something we’ll be targeting, and we’ll be using his strength in that realm to make it easier for our midfielder and attackmen,” Marks said.
Marks said Duxbury will be at the core of the team’s strength on the defensive end. He’ll be joined by fellow longstick defenders in seniors Jack Renner, Jake Bell and Gavin Masters playing in front of junior goaltender Jack Crowe.
“Jack is a big, tall kid with super fast hands who’s athletic and has great hand-eye coordination,” Marks said. He’s been getting all the first team reps since the beginning of last year.“
Marks said Summit’s defense will need to pick up the slack for a midfield lacking numbers and experience. The coach said the team will lean on senior Jagger Koch to lead the Tigers midfield. Marks commended Koch for his ascension through the program from an athlete new to lacrosse as a freshman to a senior captain.
“His best characteristics are his passion and energy,” Marks said. “He’s a great example to the younger kids.”
The Tigers will be without the talents on the pitch of senior attackman Will Wagner, who signed in the fall to play at Adams State. Wagner suffered injuries in a skiing accident this winter that included a concussion and required surgery. Though he is unable to return to full-contact play until August, Marks said Wagner is out with his teammates engaging in noncontact activities and is helping to lead and coach in practice.
With Wagner out, Marks said Summit is looking to senior attackman Matt Shaffer, a skilled feeder and finisher, and junior attacking midfielder Isaac Dalrymple, who’s adept at dodging and shooting, for production.
“We were looking at Matt being a big contributor last year before the season started,” Marks said. “That expectation was put in place before Will got hurt so now looks like it’s his job to fill the offensive quarterback.”
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