Good morning lax fans! The biggest news of the week came on Friday when the ASUN announced it will sponsor a men’s lacrosse conference that includes Utah. I also released the boys high school preseason region rankings for regions 6, 7 and 11. I’m still waiting on a few more girls coaches to respond before publishing girls polls. Let’s dig in!
If you’re out and about picking up new lacrosse gear or coming home from practice, don’t forget to stop by one of four Vessel locations for real food by real people.
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I’m always a fan of live lacrosse and that’s what we’ll have this weekend! Utah State hosts Utah Valley at 1:00 p.m. in Logan at the Aggie Legacy Fields. Spectators are allowed, they are required to wear masks and social distance, and they are not allowed onto the field. Check social media before heading out as games are subject to change.
Utes Join ASUN
Here are the details to Utah joining the ASUN and why I think it’s a big deal. The 2022 ASUN will feature Air Force, Bellarmine, Cleveland State, Detroit Mercy, Robert Morris and Utah. It has always been a goal for the Utes to join a conference. Various attempts at various stages were made to join the ACC, Big East, Big-10 and most recently the SoCon. This Inside Lacrosse article breaks it down pretty well. At the time it was published, it wasn’t official but Scenario No. 2 is what ended up happening. The aftermath of the ASUN and SoCon formation and realignment is there will be no independent teams in NCAA D-I lacrosse next year which is awesome. It also gives every team a path to the tournament via conference automatic qualifier (AQ). The other benefit I see that should a new team form, it would likely be able to find a home in a conference since the footprint for the ASUN is so large.
Being in a conference solidifies a lot of things on and off the field. It provides guaranteed (I don’t like that word during these times but you get the idea) games and especially guaranteed home games. The AQ is a big motivator for coaches and players and now players have the opportunity to play in the postseason as well as earn conference awards. Having Air Force in the conference should excite Utah fans and will certainly appease the older Utah fans who remember Utah/Air Force games (football, basketball, etc) while part of the WAC and Mountain West. It’s also a geographic rivalry and the last two contests have been settled by a goal. Obviously, the games have to be played, but it’s not unreasonable to assume Utah is the favorite to win the conference next season.
If you’re into podcasts, listen to the Quick Restart that was published today. Terry Foy and Quint Kessenich break it down pretty well.
The Utes beat future conference foe Bellarmine, 12-7, on Saturday. Three Utes registered four points: Hyde (4G), Bradbury (3G,1A), McCreary (1G,3A). The Utes have the week off before taking on Air Force on 2/20. Here are highlights of the game from LSN:
2021 Boys High School Preseason Region Rankings
I previewed regions 3, 4 and 5 last week. You can see those here. I’ll be releasing the rest of the boys and girls regions over the next few weeks on our Instagram stories and later in the newsletter. Also, I had some people ask me if I made these up. No, I didn’t, though I do agree with them for the most part. I emailed each coach in each region and they picked their top teams and then I tallied them.
Brighton takes the top spot in Region 6. The Bengals received all five first place votes. Olympus was tabbed as the No. 2 team and should look to make noise with first year head coach Nick Merrell at the helm. Merrell isn’t new to coaching or new to Olympus so it should be a smooth transition.
2021 Region 6 Preseason Rankings
Region 6 Players to Watch
Marcus Gundersen (Brighton), Jordan Henderson (Brighton), Carter Budge (Brighton) Hutton Murphy (Olympus), Tyler Thompson (Olympus), Ethan Hartsfield (Olympus), Max Parker (Skyline), Rex Merrill (Skyline), Will Schofield (Skyline), Preston Evans (East), Leo Plute (East), Sau Kisi Tafisi (East), Lincoln Robison (Highland), Eric Haslam (Highland), Tate Christensen (Highland).
Mountain Ridge takes to the top spot raking in four first place votes. “Mountain Ridge may be a new school but we are not new to lacrosse by any means. Most of these players have been together for years,” said Mountain Ridge head coach Trent Bangert. The Sentinels only lost four seniors from last year. Don’t sleep on Alta. Coach Horoba is one of four active head coaches to have won a championship at any level as a head coach. Bonus points if you can name the other three in the comments. He’s the only active head coach to win a Class A/Division I championship as a head coach. He won 3 with Brighton: 2011, 2014, 2016.
2021 Region 7 Preseason Rankings
Mountain Ridge (4)
Region 7 Players to Watch
Dallin Tanner (Mountain Ridge), David Wright (Mountain Ridge), Gage Gann (Mountain Ridge), Rogan Babka (Alta), Cody Allen (Alta), Berkley Horoba (Alta), Joseph Ivins (Timpview), Isaac Pestana (Timpveiw), Devin Halversen (Timpview), Tyson King (Lehi), Jaysten Larsen (Lehi), Jose Munoz (Lehi), Cody Baxter (Timpanogos), Kaden Harvey (Timpanogos), Ethan Lind (Timpanogos), Tysen Ryan (Timpanogos), Kimball Hatch (Orem), Josh Fraser (Orem), Sawyer Beck (Orem), Jaxon Dickson (Mountain View), Cooper George (Mountain View), Isaac Young (Mountain View).
I received a DM on Instagram this week after posting the Region 11 rankings that said, “I remember when it was just Logan and Sky View in Cache Valley. Awesome to see it have it’s own region.” I couldn’t agree more. Cache Valley is yet another great example of healthy growth for the sport over the past several years.
2021 Region 11 Preseason Rankings
Green Canyon (5)
Sky View (1)
Region 11 Players to Watch
Jake Lundin (Green Canyon), Jacob Regen (Green Canyon), Mason Anderson (Green Canyon), Jaxon Curtis (Green Canyon), Parker Robbins (Sky View), Josh Higginbotham (Sky View), Josh Hall (Sky View), Braden Munns (Bear River), Corbin Kierstead (Bear River), Fierce Miller (Bear River), Josh Skidmore (Ridgeline), Tyson McKee (Ridgeline), Jack Jenson (Ridgeline), Cole Huglund (Logan), Cam Cottle (Logan), Daxton Daniels (Logan), Kyle Humphreys (Logan), Payton Bird (Mountain Crest), Rylan Locke (Mountain Crest), Ty Wells (Mountain Crest).
News & Notes
Three days after testing positive for COVID-19 and going into isolation, Virgina Tech lacrosse player Mary Griffin found out she had cancer. On a Zoom call. Hours from home. At just 19 years old. Read the full story on Inside Lacrosse.
Loomis Chaffee profiled Utah native Trae Ika.
Paul Carcaterra is back with his ReLAXin’ series. He interviewed Duke midfielder Nakeie Montgomery.
For the indoor fans, I’m sure you already know, but the NLL cancelled its 2021 season.
Zimagear once again gave away Super Bowl themed helmets. I honestly don’t know which one I’d choose in this lineup. So many gems. Tell me which one you’d choose in the comments.
Please send any questions or comments to email@example.com. Thanks again for reading. If you’ve made it this far, please forward to a lacrosse loving friend.
- Tim Haslam