For the past six years, Rock Canyon has developed into a hot bed of lacrosse talent.
Rock Canyon High School boys lacrosse has always looked to maintain a higher standard than the norm for its program, especially in areas of classroom performance, community outreach and on its sidelines.
“We have higher grade standards and community standards than the state or school district require to play,” Jaguars coach Louis Goldin said.
In addition, two out of the Jags’ three varsity coaches are in, or graduated from, the masters program of Sport and Performance Psychology at Denver University. The program has a sport and performance consultant, also a graduate of the same program at DU, who works with its squads now for a second year.
And the results are much the same. Rock Canyon opened its season 2-1 with a 14-13 road win against Monarch and a win at the home opener over Steamboat Springs 10-9. Their first loss was 7-4 against Cherry Creek, also on the road.
Against Monarch, Wilkins Dismuke scored five goals and had one assist. Connor Strickland and Chris Pietra each scored three. Dismuke is a first-team all-state selection from last year who took attention from Colorado preps lacrosse fans. Strickland was also a starter last year.
Also back is Christian Storch and Nick Merrill, both of whom were All-Douglas County Conference honorable mentions. Merrill is a team captain this year and Goldin expects him to step up his game. While Dismuke continues to be the Jags offensive leader, A.J. Cocetti leads special teams, the coach said. Tyler Wagstaff should also be stepping up this year.
“On the whole, we have a great group of young men,” said Goldin, in his fifth season as the Jags’ head coach.
Dismuke had another five-goal, one-assist game against Steamboat. Zander Harlan had one of each. Harlan is new to the team, as is Colton Jackson, who had an assist and won nine faceoffs in the home-opener, and Patrick “Liam” Colter.
The last time Steamboat and Rock Canyon faced each other was during the first round of the state championship playoffs where Canyon advanced to Round 2.
As far as conference competition goes, Goldin said there is lot of parity.
“We know what we want, but we will have to see if this becomes true,” the coach said.
Last season, the Jaguars finished with a 12-5 overall record and a fourth-place finish in the conference. They reached the playoffs but lost in the second round to the eventual state title winners Regis Jesuit.