Summit takes LAX Jam
EDWARDS ” Eagle County hosted their third annual Lax Jam this weekend in Edwards, where nine mountain lacrosse teams competed for the number one spot in the High Schools Boys Division. The tournament was attended by teams all over the state including Telluride, Durango, Windsor and Aspen, all hoping to take the prestigious title of best team of the mountains.
Durango and Summit were separated in anticipation for a showdown. Summit drew Battle Mountain High School in the first round on Saturday at 8 a.m. The stiff defense of Summit did not allow one shot the entire game, as Summit easily cruised to a 5-0 win, with Braxton Campbell, Jimmy Keeling, freshman James Lowery, Jeff Montepare and Tucker Shelden each contributing a goal. The long poles of Taylor Miller, Danny Caamano, and Pat Bigelow were relentless with groundballs, as would be the trend throughout the tournament for the Tigers.
Wading through a four-hour break, Summit took on mountain-rival Glenwood, who were not going to lie down for the Summit Tigers who had already taken it to them only a month prior. Glenwood came out firing with four shots and two goals in the first half, making ultimate destination of the championship in question for the Tigers.
At the start of the second half, middie Michael Dudick led Summit to five straight goals and a convincing 9-3 win. Along with Dudick’s three goals and great face-offs play, Jimmy Keeling also had three goals, with Campbell, Tyler Reinking, and Tucker Shelden chipping in with a goal a piece.
“Despite only one goal, Braxton had the best game of the season, unselfishly feeding from behind the net with a career high seven assists,” said head coach Beckerman. “I was extremely proud of Braxton and the rest of team coming out fired up for the second half.”
The final game of Saturday was against a previously unknown Windsor team from Fort Collins. Beckerman noted, “It is particularly tough to get up for games in which we have destroyed the opponents many times before, and opponents are always aiming to knock us off. This game we didn’t know what to expect, so we came out with our ‘A’ game, and it showed!”
The Tigers came out with thirteen shots in the first half, seven of them goals, dominating every aspect of the game with certainty, leaving no doubt that they would be playing for the Mountain Division Championship on Sunday. Leading the scoring was the Braxton with three goals, Dudick, freshman Alex Gutierrez, Shelden, and Turrin contributed one each. Once again, Matt Peoples played a great game in goal, which he says is made easy with the dominant defensive trio of Danny Caamano, Taylor Miller, and Pat Bigelow. The Tigers cruised to a 7-1 win over Windsor.
Sunday’s showdown between Durango and Summit was held at 11 a.m., and the grudge match was much anticipated by everyone at the tournament.
“It was amazing the crowd this game drew,” Beckerman added. “The rubber match between these two teams was the highlight of the tournament as each team was in attendance to witness the battle.”
The history of this rivalry is comparable to the Yankees vs. Red Sox of the Mountain Lacrosse world. Losing twice last year, and splitting the series 1-1 with them this season, there was an intensity and tension in the air you could cut with a knife. It appeared the game was going to be decided by defense, as at the half the score was 1-0 Summit.
Both team’s offenses kicked into gear at the beginning of the second half, as Summit had fourteen shots and Durango shot eight times. Familiar with Summit’s strength, Durango shut Braxton Campbell down, however, the MVP of the tournament came through big. Jimmy Keeling scored twice in the second half to give Summit the 4-2 win and the tournament championship. The two other goals came from Jeff Montepare and Rudi Turrin, with assists coming from Braxton and Brock Barto. Taylor Miller played an outstanding game on defense continually coming up with the loose ground balls and with his tenacious defense.
“I told the team that the bigger the obstacle, the bigger the reward. Durango is a formidable opponent, and this win meant the world to the boys.” The drenched coach said after the game, having the Gatorade bucket poured over his head.
Beckerman continued, “What these boys have accomplished is exceptional, they should be very proud of themselves, they played with heart. Hopefully this will get the attention of the Summit School district.”
Summit will host Battle Mountain at their first home game at 5 p.m. on Wednesday at Kingdom Field in Breckenridge.
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