Tournament sparks Lacrosse revival

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— Lacrosse returned to Steamboat Springs last weekend for the two-day Steamboat Invitational Lacrosse Tournament at the Christian Heritage School fields.

It was the first time since 1992 that Steamboat Springs has hosted a full-scale lacrosse tournament. At its peak, between 1984 and 1992, the tournament brought 10 teams to Steamboat Springs.

The event faded, but two years ago a local club was formed again and the drive to host a tournament followed.

"Having a tournament like this one gets everyone so excited," player Kevin Olsen said.

Two years ago the Steamboat Springs Lacrosse Club returned to the valley sparked by a solid core of former high school and college players. A youth movement, mostly high school players looking for something to do in the summer, has bolstered the team's numbers recently.

"We've come so far," Olsen said. "Last year we had 10 guys showing up for a practice. This year we have 16 to 20 guys at every practice. It's awesome."

On Saturday the sport returned to prime time as the Steamboat Invitational drew three teams, including the Steamboat squad and two from Denver.

The Hooligans from Denver took the top prize by beating Steamboat (10-9) and the Altitude from Denver (12-2) on the first day. They returned Sunday for the finals where they topped Steamboat in a 12-4 contest.

"We stuck with them until halftime, but in the second half they just pulled away from us," Olsen said.

Steamboat finished the weekend with two wins and two losses. Not a bad showing for the hometown team, Olsen said.

But more importantly Olsen is hoping this year's event will form the foundation for growth of the sport in Steamboat in the future.

He has already had interest in next year's tournament, and is hoping to see the event grow to eight teams next year.

Steve Ivancie, who organized the tournament back in the 1980s and early 1990s, thinks the new lacrosse club is right on track.

"I'm very happy to see that Kevin (Olsen) has started a club team here in Steamboat," Ivancie said.

"I think the tournament bodes well for the team's future."


--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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