Wildcats left out of playoffs in lacrosse
When the Fruita Monument High School boys lacrosse team had its regular season finale against Summit cancelled last weekend, the Wildcats knew their postseason chances might be eliminated as well.
Monday, the Colorado High School Activities Association released the 24-team state lacrosse bracket, and Fruita Monument was absent despite finishing with a 10-2 overall record.
“It’s too bad,” Fruita Monument coach Mark Young said. “Here we are in our first year, we go 10-2, had one bad game and the rest of the games we blew everyone else out.”
Two Mountain League teams made the playoffs, league champion Steamboat Springs and Summit, which went 9-2 overall.
Steamboat earned the No. 16 seed and hosts No. 17 Horizon; Summit received the No. 24 seed and travels to face No. 9 Wheat Ridge.
Although Fruita was unable to play Summit, there weren’t many blemishes on its record. The Wildcats lost to Steamboat 12-3 in the third game of the season, and lost a double overtime game to Grand Junction 9-8. Aside from those two losses, Fruita Monument dominated its competition all season. The Wildcats outscored their opponents 124-41, and had at least two spans of the season where they won four straight games.
“I don’t know what more we could have done,” Young said. “That overtime loss ended up really hurting us bad, and who knew it was going to hurt us this bad.”
Falling short of the playoffs puts a dark cloud over the Wildcats’ successful season. After splitting from the Grand Valley united team into its own program, the Wildcats didn’t have many hiccups during their transition period.
“My kids worked so hard and overcame so many issues,” Young said. “We had injuries, guys got suspended, and we had to adjust, but we still came out victorious.”
One thing that could have worked against the Wildcats was not playing any Front Range competition this season. Although lacrosse is growing steadily on the Western Slope, it remains difficult to get noticed.
“I would like to know if Denver gave us a good look,” Young said. “We beat the heck out of everybody and I told the guys that it’s not a guarantee, but if the state can’t see what a first-year team did then that would really surprise me. They surprised me.”
Regardless, this past season built momentum for the Wildcats’ program.
“We didn’t have any players that were playing for themselves,” Young said. “They were playing for Fruita Monument High School and they showed that every day.”