The Claremont Spartans senior field lacrosse team (made up of Grade 12s) ended their high school lacrosse academy careers with a bang, winning the elite bracket of the 2015 Denver Shootout, June 12 to 14 in Denver, Col.
“A perfect way for this group to finish up their high school careers,” said Spartans coach and lacrosse academy program co-ordinator Darren Reisig.
Playing year round in Saanich’s conditions benefited the team as the tournament endured stormy conditions. Some games were limited to 30 and 40 minutes.
The Spartan senior team won all three round robin games, outscoring the opponents 43-7 (by Reisig’s recount). Some of the games were chopped down to 30 or 40 minutes due to the rain. Regulation games are four 15-minute quarters.
The Spartans won a shortened semifinal 5-2 over Colorado Elite, then handled Colorado 3D All Star team in the final only to give the game away. Brad McCulley rescued the Spartans by scoring the game-tying goal with 15 seconds left. Pascal Coombs won it in sudden death overtime with the 7-6 winner.
“It’s actually the second time (winning then Denver Shootout),” said Reisig, “we have won it unofficially years ago during the tourney’s earlier days, before it had a trophy.”
Claremont also sent a “grad 2017” team made of Grade 10 and 11 players, though the results were less than desirable.
“The (junior) results were not quite the way they planned but a really good experience for them,” Reisig said. “Honestly, the Grade 12 group that just won had the same experience two years ago as this junior team, so we expect them to grow just like anyone else.”
Denver is the latest from a strong season of touring success. In November the Spartans enjoyed an incredible tour of Baltimore and New York, going 7-1-1 over the nine games played. In December they went undefeated at the Space Needle Championship, going 6-0. In March they repeated as provincial champions for 2015 with McCulley earning the provincial tournament MVP award, winning the final in overtime over New Westminster, 4-1.
Nine of the graduating Claremont lacrosse players will play in the NCAA next year on scholarships: Marshal King and David Byrne (Drexel University), Eddie Smith and Brad McCulley (Robert Morris University), Tyler Mace and Braylon Lumb (University of District of Columbia), Pascal Coombs (Mercer University), and Danny Smith and Alec Molander are soon to commit but yet to be confirmed.