Corner Canyon boys lacrosse best in stateJul 07, 2021 12:51PM ● By Catherine Garrett
The Corner Canyon High boys lacrosse team proved to be the best in Utah but also finished in the top-10 nationally after the 2021 season. (Photo courtesy Chandra Tillotson)
By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]
All-American junior attacker Jon King, who led the nation in scoring with 112 goals this season, scored four goals to lead the undefeated Corner Canyon boys lacrosse team to the Division A state championship over defending state champion Park City 20-13 on May 28 at Park City High School.
“This is a great accomplishment and they did it in style,” said head coach Aaron Ika. “The boys were the favorites going into the year and they beat the reigning state champions by 10 and 7 to prove it.”
“I’m super excited about winning the first sanctioned state championship,” said King, who will play for St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia in 2022.
The Chargers trailed at halftime of the title game for the first time all season, but came out and scored five straight goals to take control of the game.
“When we were losing at half all we had to do was really call all the guys together and calm down,” King said. “We know how good we were as a team. All we had to do was go out on the field and show it, and that’s what we did. We were a different team in that second half; we played like we knew how to. Everyone on the team stepped up and played really well in that second half. I really think we put the West Coast on notice about how good we can be all season long.”
“It was a surreal moment,” said First Team All-State junior defender Trace White. “At first, I didn’t know what to do with my body when the whistle blew to end the game, but then I threw my gloves and helmet off and jumped into the dog pile. I was so relieved and happy because we worked so hard to reach our goal.”
All-American senior attacker Eric Neilson added six goals in the title game while All-American junior midfielder Mason Quick netted five in the championship matchup.
“Being the last team left at the end of May was an expectation for our team since we first started workouts,” Neilson said. “Our coaches used it as motivation and a standard for practices—always measuring us up to how a No. 1 team should act and what that meant for us. We had the weight of being an undefeated team at the top of the list every week, and we loved it. We got used to it and knew that for us, it should be normal. When the game was finished and we got on the bus back home, we knew we had done it and there was no better feeling. We had done it all for each other.”
Ika said his team was “very focused and held themselves accountable” all year, battling through injuries to key players to score nearly 19 points a game while allowing less than five. “They focus on the little things and want to be great,” he said. “That translates into how they practice and the goals they set for themselves.”
Quick, who scored 105 goals this season, said it was particularly “amazing” to win state this season after the spring sports shutdown a year ago. “It’s what we’ve been working for all year,” he said. “We put selflessness over selfishness and were able to have the dog pile at the end of the year because of that.”
At state, the first-seeded CCHS squad beat Skyline 17-4, American Fork 18-8 and Olympus 17-3 to reach the final game. Throughout the season, Corner Canyon outscored its opponents 415 to 97, winning its 22 games in dominating fashion.
All-American goalie Ayden Santi said the team chemistry the Chargers have built over several years “makes things a lot smoother on the field with belief and trust in each other” while First Team All-State junior midfielder Blaze DeGracie said the key was “unselfish play.”
“We knew we just had to play our game and play as a team and that everything would fall into place,” DeGracie said. “This team was something else. It was a great accomplishment for our team and sets us off good to go win another one next year.”
Also on the seventh-ranked team in the nation—who finished 22-0—were Second Team All-State players Mason Esplin and Lincoln Hanks; Second Team All-Region players Justin Egan, Blake Franckowiak, Anthony Mackay and Jona Serrell; and seniors Alex Becerra, Taylor Inkley, Evan Rasmussen, Luke Harkness, Josh Knowlton, Diesel Pope and Noah Waddell; juniors Bohdri Bateman, Stratton Baugh, Callaway Call, Dylan Carlsen, Brody Cutrer, Benjamin Dickson, Takavaha Fehoko, Ethan Hill, Mikko Laitinen, Matthew Mallory, Connor Maxwell, Garrett Muir and Christian Petersen; sophomores Dawson Andersen, Jack Baird, Carlos Becerra, Landon Bethers, Benjamin Brand, Sam Broman, Wyatt Chernosky, Jake Harker, Everest Johnson and Porter Wells; and freshmen Jack Dalley, Kisen Muramoto, Luke West and Conner Zaharis.
“The three pillars to our program showed up in everything we did: ‘We, Not Me,’ ‘Do Your Job,’ and ‘All In,’” Ika said. “These are the keys to everything we do and the boys did a fantastic job buying in.”
Ika was assisted on the coaching staff by Walker Bateman, Jeff Brzoska, Chase Caruso, Elias Fairman, Tallyn Goldman, Bray Hallman, John Holmes, Jeff King, David Michaeli, Garrett Michaeli, Josh Stout and Parker Tolman.
“We worked our hardest for our coaches,” Neilson said. “We knew what they put into it and we felt winning [state] was the only way we could show our appreciation and give just a small amount back. We owe everything to them and that was our motivation.”
“The boys dedicated this year to our 2020 team that wasn’t able to finish the year,” Ika said. “They were the catalyst behind everything we did this year. They got the boys focused and showed them how to lead. The boys did a fantastic job picking up where the 2020 class left off.”