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The City Journals

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone: Brighton High School Girls Lacrosse

Apr 07, 2016 11:51AM ● By Bryan Scott

By Sarah Almond | [email protected]

Cottonwood - Holladay - On March 7, the Brighton High School girls lacrosse team faced off against Corner Canyon High School to kick off their 2016 season. Though they won the game by a whopping 10 points, the girls are aware that they still need to practice hard and play harder if they plan on becoming the 2016 state champions. 

“We lost a lot of seniors last year,” junior Zoe Totland said. “And we lost in state, so we are very dedicated and working really hard to be the best this year.” 

In just the second week of the season, the Utah Lacrosse News Coach’s Poll ranked Brighton third in the state behind Park City and Lone Peak. 

“Brighton likes being ranked third,” Michelle Baldwin, manager of the Bengals, said. “Being ranked higher is great, but what really matters is how we play day after day. I’m confident we will play our best when it really matters.” 

Though the two schools may be ranked above Brighton, each of these teams are an incredibly close match-ups with the Bengals. Brighton lost to Park City by just one point at the state tournament in 2015 and the Bengals have a tied one-and-one preseason tournament record with Lone Peak. 

With early standings boding well for the remainder of Brighton’s season, players believe their passion for the sport and their ability to work beyond what’s asked of them will help them reign victorious this year. 

“We don’t have to enforce the passion,” Totland said. “The passion for lacrosse is already there — it’s ingrained in us — and I think that makes our team really unique.” 

While any passerby can see the dedication and work ethic emanating from the Brighton players, the underlying changes the team has undergone in the past year is what makes this group truly distinct. Aside from substantial growth in numbers, the team recently welcomed on a Brighton alumna as their head coach. 

“We hired Maggie HerrNeckar as our head coach and she has been awesome,” Baldwin said.  

“The search committee and I feel that she is the perfect candidate to provide our current and future lacrosse student-athletes the coaching, direction and guidance they need to succeed,” president of the girls lacrosse team Clint Robertson said in a press release. “At Brighton, we expect greatness from our girls and Maggie will help us achieve our lofty goals.”

HerrNeckar, a Utah native, played at Westminster College and graduated in 2015 with a degree in marketing. As co-founder of the Brighton Girls Youth Program, HerrNeckar has considerable experience both playing and coaching lacrosse. 

“We asked her if she would be interested in coming back to coach our team and she agreed,” Baldwin said. “We feel so fortunate; she’s been amazing for our team.” 

Along with the leadership and expertise HerrNeckar has brought to the Bengals, she’s also helped to encourage the group’s overall sense of pride and passion in the game. 

“She [HerrNacker] came up with the saying, ‘Great things never come from comfort zones,’ and I think we’ve all really bought into that,” Totland said. 

With hours of dedicated practice each week and commitment to lacrosse both on and off the field, the Bengals are looking forward to a season that ends with a state title. 

“I have a feeling that this year is going to be a very good year for us,” Totland said. “A really good year.” 

The Bengals play their last home game on Thursday, May 5 at 6 p.m. at the Brighton High School stadium.