Taylor Watkins’ determination helps him succeed at lacrosse

Taylor Watkins is adept at scoring from his midfield position, tallying 13 goals for the Grand Valley Lightning so far this season.

Taylor Watkins has just enough moxie to make him a talented lacrosse player.

A junior at Fruita Monument High School, Watkins plays midfield for the Grand Valley lacrosse team. He’s one of the Lightning’s leading scorers this season, with 13 goals through six games.

He’ll try to add to that total this weekend when the Lightning (4-2) host Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley on Friday and Saturday at Canyon View Park.

“Taylor has a good shot, good speed, but more than anything, just a determination,” Grand Valley coach Dave Zabronsky said. “And in this game, that’s what it takes to score, someone going out and saying, ‘I want to score.’ ”

By the book, Watkins’ duty at the midfield position is to play both the offensive and defensive sides of the field. The midfielders are in charge of transitioning the ball from defense to offense and getting the ball to the attackers, whose sole responsibility is to score.

The Lightning’s midfield roles are a bit different. Zabronsky likes to sub in offensive and defensive midfielders.

Watkins qualifies as an offensive midfielder.

“Primarily Taylor is an offensive midfielder, and we try to sub him off for defense but we are not always successful,” Zabronsky said. “So midfielders have to be ready to play both offense and defense.”

Although Watkins is a good defender, his strength is scoring. Watkins didn’t waste any time, scoring four goals in the first game of the season against Aspen.

He isn’t always looking score, but takes advantage when the window is there.

“I think I have scored a lot because of good opportunities,” Watkins said. “Like when a teams makes a defensive mistake, and I happen to be there to pick up the ball and put it in.”

Zabronsky goes back to the intangible side of the game that makes Watkins a threat for the Lightning.

“It’s a grittiness, not afraid of getting hurt or getting whacked,” Zabronsky said. “You don’t have to have a lot of talent; it’s grit and toughness, and Taylor has that.”

One of 20 underclassmen for the Lightning, Watkins said this season has been a good learning experience for Grand Valley.

“We want to be a strong team in the west,” Watkins said. “This is the first year of the high school program, so we are trying to get it started, and just keep playing well.”


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