All-Senior State Lacrosse game features

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Steamboat's Cooper Howard was selected to participate in this year's Froecklier/Toll All-Senior State Lacrosse game by lacrosse coaches from across the state.

The senior has been involved in the sport for only two years -- the length of time Steamboat has had a program -- but he has turned into a skilled player in a short amount of time, Sailors coach Bob Hiester said.

"He's done a great job in terms of developing," the coach said.

Howard said he took a liking to lacrosse early on. He enjoys the sport so much he wants to continue playing in college. As a natural athlete, Howard picked up the tendencies of lacrosse easily and continues to improve.

"I'm surprised I picked it up so fast," Howard said. "It's a lot of what my teammates have brought me, and I have to give a lot of credit to the coaching. If I would have picked up any sport after two years, I wouldn't be where I'm at now without the coaching."

Thursday's all-senior game will be the final one for Howard as a Sailor, but his future plans are uncertain.

He will be at Denver Public School Stadium for Thursday's game pitting seniors from the four conferences against each other. Steamboat is a member of the Foothills League, but because the program is in its infancy, the Sailors didn't play a full conference schedule this spring.

Howard will team up with seniors from the Southern League and face the combined team from the Centennial and Continental leagues at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The Sailors are the only boys' lacrosse program on the Western Slope.

"It's a pretty big deal," Howard said. "It's something I thought about since last year. The best seniors in Colorado will be there. I'm a little nervous to see the caliber of play I'm up against."

Howard said he is also a little nervous about what other players will expect from a Steamboat senior. Programs in the Front Range are familiar with the Sailors and how they are trying to build a respectable program in the mountains.

"I want to show that Steamboat lacrosse is real and that we will be able to compete with these teams maybe next year," Howard said.

Howard is the only senior from this year's team making the trip to Denver.

"It will be a neat experience for him," Hiester said. "This will be a real good experience to play with and against the best players in Colorado."

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