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The City Journals

Bingham lacrosse team makes most of short spring season

Jul 13, 2020 01:19PM ● By Julie Slama

In the first UHSAA-sanctioned lacrosse season, Bingham Miners beat Lone Peak High in their second game. (Caleb Keller/Bingham High)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Sitting proudly at Bingham High is the ball from the first goal of the first sanctioned boys’ lacrosse game in Utah history.

That game, played at Bingham’s stadium, was the first game this year where the Miners beat Olympus, 13-11 in the first year of Utah High School Activities Association sanctioned play. The Miners went on to defeat Lone Peak 6-5 in overtime before falling to Brighton in their third and final game of the abbreviated spring season.

“I think we would have finished fourth in state,” first-year head coach Brett Everill said. “Brighton, Park City and Corner Canyon are the top three teams. Last year (in club play), it was those three and Lone Peak and Olympus, and we beat those two schools.”

The lacrosse season was cut short by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which first put spring sports and school on a two-week “soft closure” in mid-March before ultimately canceling all spring sports and putting classes online until the end of the school year.

“We highly encouraged our team to go outside, work on skills on their own, and many of them did,” he said. “I met on Google Hangouts with the captains, and they shared information with their groups of boys. I received lots and lots of emails forwarded from administration about the season and how it was continuously changing. Even now, we’re on a wait-and-see on what sports will look like this school year.” 

Everill said coaches are uncertain what the upcoming year will look like, although school districts have begun to allow for summer training. He said rules could vary depending if there is contact play, sharing a ball with hands, team busses and meals with social distancing and more.

Safety precautions such as taking temperature checks, sanitizing equipment and players bringing their own water bottles already are expected, he added.

Aside from how COVID-19 may impact sports and upcoming seasons, Everill said that because Bingham has been a club team, there are players starting as early as second grade and growing up gaining experience.

“We have good depth and tons of potential, but we have (nine) seniors graduating and they’re amazing,” he said. “I’m really going to miss those seniors. They’re really good athletes, but they’re also good boys, grateful young men.” 

While 17 of the 42 members of the varsity and JV lettered in its first sanctioned season, Everill and other coaches are finding ways to allow those seniors and teams one last playing opportunity. This summer, as a club team—South Valley Lacrosse—they will play a five-game season against Highland, Park City, Corner Canyon, Alta and Westlake.

“We’re doing everything we can to give our seniors one last chance to play,” he said. “The kids have worked so long and so hard.” 

Their final non-sanctioned game opponent, Westlake, will serve as a sort of senior night since the team members also are on the school team. 

The summer season also replaces a proposed Jordan School District Lacrosse Cup that was hoped to be played in early June, but did not receive approval from the Jordan Board of Education.

It is shorter than the 16-game UHSAA season, where the Miners were to play other teams based on the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index system) as well as within their region, which included Copper Hills, Jordan, West Jordan, West, Herriman and Riverton.

Everill, who took the head coaching position from his offense coordinator post when coach JD Barnes stepped down this winter, began playing in seventh grade on the Bingham club team, which began in the late 1990s. He continued to play through high school.

“The [UHSAA] hasn’t opened up a sport in a long time—I’d bet in over 30 years,” he said. “There was talk when I was playing two decades ago about making lacrosse a sanctioned sport. In the long run, it will level out the playing field. Lacrosse is an expensive sport, and a lot of kids can’t afford to play. By being sanctioned, schools will be helping out picking up the gear costs.” 

He said Bingham administration has been coordinating payments and forms—things parents did on the club team—and travel arrangements, from excusing students from class for a game to arranging transportation. The coaches and administration also emphasis good grades and citizenship, focusing on the student part of student-athlete.

“It’s been fun having this be part of the school,” Everill said. “We thought we’d get one season under our belt this year, but we’ll have to restart in a lot of ways, and there will likely be brand-new rules, a new landscape carrying over from the coronavirus. We likely won’t be able to hold our camp for younger players, and we’d like to do a team service project, but we just don’t know what that will look like. We’re hoping to add spots on our roster (at February tryouts), so we’d have 52 players, but we’re just jumping through hoops in our first year while facing all this. It’s just a wait-and-see approach while we plan ahead.”