Love for lacrosse

Dedication to sport paying off for Tigers' Kris States

Grand Junction’s Kris States looks for a teammate to pass the ball to Friday in the Tigers’ 14-4 victory over Eagle Valley. States did most of the damage himself in the win, scoring six goals for Grand Junction.



Kris States was supposed to be a baseball player, just like his grandfather, Ronald States, who played in the St. Louis Cardinals organization in the 1950s.

Then came a Colorado Mammoth game at Pepsi Center. Kris States was 6.

“Dad, I’m not playing baseball,” States told his father, James, when he came home.

“I’m playing lacrosse.”

Long before Friday, when Kris States scored six goals — a “sock trick” — to help Grand Junction High School defeat Eagle Valley 14-4 at Long Family Memorial Park, there was States’ decision.

“It was the passion in the eyes,” said James States, now the Tigers’ head lacrosse coach. “You can’t take that away.”

The next year, in Denver, States began playing lacrosse in the South Suburban League. Watching lacrosse was fun. Playing hurt — States was blind-sided in his first game.

“My coach said, ‘You’re not tough enough yet,’ ” States said. “I said, ‘No, Coach, but I’m going to get better.’ “

States found a wall and threw the ball against it time and time again. He watched college lacrosse as much as possible. He checked out the latest stick tricks on the computer.

Ten years later, States has scored six goals in a game twice. On Friday, Grand Junction (5-4) led 3-2 at halftime before dominating. And on his final goal, States flashed a stick trick.

Taking a pass about nine yards from the goal, he faked a shot over his right shoulder. Then he turned and whipped a shot that hit the center bar for a goal. It was States’ final goal of the day.

“He has a hard shot,” James States said. “And stick skills. He can go with his right hand or left hand. He’s been practicing that since he was 6.”

Lacrosse was different for States at 6. You just hoped the ball came your way. If it did, you ran wild.

“If you were on defense,” Kris States said, “you just hit somebody with your stick.”

He’s since learned to relax. On Friday, he was just that — calm, confident and, well, not 6 years old anymore.

“It helps your view of the field,” Kris States said. “You just smile about the world and go on.”

It was a birthday party that brought Kris States out to the Pepsi Center for that first Mammoth game. James States, after hearing his son wanted to play lacrosse, said he had to check out a game as well.

“Halfway through the first quarter, I said, ‘Oh, yeah, we’re going to play this game,’ ” James States said. “And I’ve been coaching ever since.”

Kris States still has one of the original Mammoth hats. But it never covers his black locks.

“He has one of the old ones,” James States said. “Now he’s too cool to wear it.”

GIRLS LACROSSE

Grand Junction 14, Steamboat Springs 3: Kacie Jay had four goals as the Tigers improved to 4-0 with a win over the Sailors.

Steamboat Springs scored three minutes in, which only awoke the Tigers.

“Our adrenaline started picking up when they scored,” Jay said.

Jay said the Tigers also hope to stay relatively rested for its 11 a.m. home game today against Aspen, also 4-0 in the Mountain League.

Anna Wedekin, Morgan Emmons and Emma Lefabre each had two goals for the Tigers.

Durango 8, Fruita Monument 4: Alyssa Spencer had 17 saves as Durango downed host Fruita Monument.

Alyssa Urban had two goals for Fruita (3-3).


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