Playing in front of the world
Parker U15 team gets rare opportunity in Commerce City
Admittedly the name is a little baffling, but the Parker Men's Club lacrosse team participated in the World Lacrosse Championships at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
The men's club, merely a team of 14-year-old boys, played in the U15 youth division of the tournament that was held July 10-16.
Sometimes the team plays under the Parker Hawks banner but the club enters most tournaments as the Parker Men's Club.
“It's a long, long story,” explained coach Chris Carpenter. “We came up with it with a bunch of second-graders at a camp out in Utah because we thought it was a funny name. It's all little kids. A lot of these guys started playing when they were second-graders.
“Three years ago we started going to the tournaments. Spokesmen of the tournaments would call and tell me we were in the wrong division and I would kind of explain to them it is more for comic value than anything else.”
Carpenter's team won three games in pool play by a combined score of 34-18 and advanced into the championship bracket for games on July 14.
The team's scoring attack was led by Josh Coleman, Alec Jacobson, Thomas Raspanti, Nate Surd, Brett Boos and Cam Gilmore. Parker's stellar defense was led by goalie Caleb Stroman and defensemen Cole Campbell, Hunter Jacobson, Brendan Roth, Cooper Bissett and Isaac Lloyd.
In its first round championship bracket game, the Parker Men's Club notched a 15-0 win over the High Plains Outlaws.
All the players on the team are from the Parker area including two guest players from Castle Rock. The players will be freshmen in the fall heading to Legend, Chaparral, Ponderosa, Regis Jesuit or Highlands Ranch high schools.
“Playing in the tournament was good for them,” said Carpenter. “They had a good competitive season playing kids their own age and now they moved up. We played kids a little older and kids from all around the country.
“Their progress is probably the fun part, thinking about what we were doing with second- and third-graders. Most of these kids will have a good chance to play varsity or junior varsity as freshmen. They are real good. The kids have really improved.”
Winning wasn't a priority for Carpenter heading into the tournament, but his team was seeded seventh in the championship bracket after an impressive pool play performance.
“For me it was the last time we will have this group of kids together,” he said. “I just wanted them to have fun. I wasn't concerned with the results. The World Championship comes around once every four years. Even (more) rare is the fact they are in the U.S. and the fact they are in Denver. In my lifetime there's a good chance that will never happen again.
“I wanted them to go play, have fun but more than anything I want them to appreciate. It was a chance to see the U.S. national team, to see the 30-plus countries that came and to really understand the growth of the game.”
Josh Coleman, a player who will attend Chaparral in the fall, was excited about the opportunity to compete.
“I wanted to see what it was like to play teams from other states, see what their playing styles were and just have fun,” said Coleman. “It was a good learning experience to see what we could do against other teams, how you can improve your game and it was also a measuring stick to see how good you are compared to other guys.”
Hunter Jacobson, a former hockey player who will also be a freshman at Chaparral when school begins, claims the experience was unbeatable.
“It was a great experience because the tournament is not here very much,” he said. “The fact we got to play in it was great. We saw the teams that came to this tournament and the competition we were up against and how we played.”