Simon brings winning background to GJ lacrosse

She played on three state championship teams and one state runner-up team during her four years as a lacrosse player for Cherry Creek High School. She then was an assistant coach for a state-championship team at her alma mater.

Amanda Simon knows first-hand what it takes to succeed at the high school level, and in the spring she will try to impart it to the Grand Junction High School girls lacrosse team.

Simon was hired to succeed Alexis Rawlings as the Tigers’ head coach, Grand Junction Athletic Director Ned Pollert said Tuesday in a news release. She inherits a team that won the Mountain League last season with an 11-0 mark and finished 13-2 overall.

Simon said she’s excited about the opportunity to coach the Tigers. She said she is good friends with Rawlings, who was a teammate of hers on club teams in Denver going back to fifth grade. They share similar philosophies, and Simon said the Tigers will continue to do many of the same things they did under Rawlings.

Focusing on teamwork will be priority No. 1, Simon said.

“It’s not a one-man show. It takes 12 players on the field to win or lose a game,” she said, adding players have to be as adept at attacking as they are at defending.

Simon also knows some of her players through helping the Grand Junction varsity a little previously and being involved in Grand Valley lacrosse.

She’s only 22 and balances a full-time job as an assistant manager at McAlister’s Deli with being a full-time student at Colorado Mesa University, but Simon said McAlister’s will work with her to adjust hours for coaching in the spring.

Simon played two seasons, 2011-12, for Colorado Mesa’s women’s lacrosse team and was a team captain in 2011.

Before that, the 2009 Cherry Creek graduate attended the University of Colorado-Denver for a year.

She was the junior varsity head coach and assistant varsity coach at Cherry Creek in 2010. The Bruins won the state title that year.

Simon said that coaching experience was awesome and eye-opening.

Working with the junior varsity revealed the difference in skills between the JV and varsity, something she was unaware of as a four-year varsity player at Cherry Creek.

“I had to learn how to talk to them and learn how to teach,” Simon said.

Her time as a varsity assistant also was rewarding, as Simon said the state title helped make up for the one she did not win as a senior.

“They worked their butts off (to win state),” she said of the Bruins.

And she knows such commitment is a big part of the recipe for success that she hopes Grand Junction will embrace.

For that matter, Simon said she’d like to be a part of developing players and raising the level of play throughout the Grand Valley.

“Just growing the lacrosse base out here is my main goal, getting people aware and knowledgeable about the sport and developing players,” Simon said.


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