Annual Quickstick Lacrosse Tournament returns to Breckenridge July 11-12
Special to the Daily
Quickstick Lacrosse Tournament
What: The 17th annual adult-only lacrosse tournament, with competitive teams from across the state
Where: Breckenridge Recreation Center turf field, Kingdom Park and Upper Blue Elementary
When: Saturday and Sunday, July 11-12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Cost: Free for spectators, team entry now closed.
For more information on the tournament, call 970-453-1734 or see http://www.townofbreckenridge.com
High-level lacrosse returns to Breckenridge this weekend for the 17th annual Quickstick Lacrosse Tournament.
The adult-only tournament will feature 10 competitive-level teams from across the state. Many teams will have current and former college-level players, meaning there will be some exceptional lacrosse on display.
“It’s a chance for these guys to show off some skills, and it’s a great opportunity for the community to come out and see some high-level lacrosse,” tournament organizer Brian Schaefer said.
The tournament has seen an uptick in interest from college players over the last few years, which has raised the level of play significantly. But there will still be a few older players in the bunch.
The local squad, Team Copper Mountain, will feature an exciting father-son combo in former Summit High School lacrosse star Jack Bilenduke, who’s playing alongside his father, Graham. Jack will play at Cornell College in the fall, while it will be Graham’s first time playing in an official game in over 20 years.
A few of the Bilenduke’s teammates have played in almost every Quickstick since 1998.
“A lot of times these older guys show that you don’t have to be at your peak performance to be competitive,” Shaefer said. “Sometimes, experience outweighs all.”
Team Copper will be the Summit County representative and is captained by David Morris, a former player for University of Mary Washington in Virginia. The Copper crew is the first hometown team to play at the tournament in a few years.
“It’s great to see a local team come play,” Shaefer said. “I think these guys will show what lacrosse is looking like in Summit County these days.”
One of the tournament’s main goals is to give former players an opportunity to dust off their sticks and get back into a sport they love, even if they haven’t had access to it for a while.
“It’s really cool that we could get guys out to play,” Morris said. “There’s a lot of former players up here, and it’s eye-opening for all these guys to just get back on the playing field.”
Team Copper will play its first game at 9 a.m. on July 11 against Ned Kelly’s.
“We’re all out there to have a good time, but we want to compete and hopefully get to the finals,” Morris said.
Foes on the field, friends on the sideline
The Quickstick has always been competitive, but it also comes with a more laid-back feel than larger, national tournaments, like the Vail Shootout.
“A lot of these guys have known each other for years,” Shaefer said. “It’s a good chance for them catch up. It’s fun while still competitive.”
In comparison to elite tournaments, the Quickstick has a leg-up in ambience, with a strong feeling of camaraderie from start to finish.
“In lacrosse, you make a lot of friends and you make a lot of enemies playing high school and club ball together; but, one way or another, you usually end up seeing them down the road at events like these,” Morris said with a laugh.
This year, Quickstick features a throwback rule, allowing for unlimited long-sticks. In more common rules, only three long-sticks are allowed on the field at a time. This will likely slow down the pace of play and lead to low-scoring, more competitive matches.
Games start at 9 a.m. on July 11 and run until 5 p.m. on July 12 at the Breckenridge Recreation Center turf field, Kingdom Park and Upper Blue Elementary.
It is the first year that the tournament will be held on the new turf field. The opening round of games will be pool play, leading to the elimination round on the second day. Tournament champions will receive plaques and hoodies.
Last year’s tournament winner was the Caged Animals. The Caged Animals built an early lead, but the Switchbacks posed a valiant comeback before CA knocked them off 5-4.
“Both of these teams were filled mostly with college players and they deserved to be there,” Shaefer said. “It was really exciting to see that kind of lacrosse action here in Summit County.”
If those team names sound ridiculous, just wait for the sort of humorous names that weren’t fit to print.
The next local lacrosse event is the boys versus girls scrimmage at SHS stadium on July 15 at 6 p.m., sponsored by local youth club Summit Stix.
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