Men's lacrosse readies for home games

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— As the sport of lacrosse grows nationwide, the Steamboat Lacrosse men's club team continues to benefit. The team continues to grow in size and ability.

"Each year, we're getting more and more people and retaining existing talent," said Todd Wichelhaus, the team's defensive captain. "Each year, we get another kid, and that's another bonus for us."

With a core group of returning players and an influx of new talent, the Steamboat Lacrosse team has traveled to play Vail's men's team twice this summer.

With a win and a loss in those matches, Wichelhaus said the team is in position to win its home tournament - the Steamboat Lacrosse Tournament - Aug. 11 and 12.

With teams from the Front Range, Vail and Durango coming to the tournament, Wichelhaus said Steamboat is expecting a much better finish than the past several showings.

"This year is our best shot to win," Wichelhaus said. "We're improving each year, and you never know - if we start playing well, it can happen."

In preparation for the tournament, Steamboat will play a home game against Vail at 6:30 p.m. today at Whistler Park.

"We've got a pretty dedicated core," said John Worden, team manager. "We have 15 guys that are pretty dedicated. That's a great number. It's a managing number to count on these guys to travel."

Worden, who has been playing in Steamboat for more than 20 years, said this year's team features a large group of talented players ranging in age from 16 to 50.

Worden and Steve Ivancie played for the club team in the 1980s when Steamboat lacrosse - and the home tournament - were popular around the state. After a drop in popularity in the late '90s, Ivancie and Worden said they are beginning to see the tournament revitalize.

"It sounds like the current organizers are a good group of people and there's a number of younger guys, as well as the usual," said Ivancie, who has made several of the team's practices but doesn't plan on playing in this year's tournament. "The tournament is enjoying a renaissance because people realize Steamboat has a good program and good tournament."

While the Steamboat Lacrosse club has a good following, any players ages 17 and older are encouraged to attend the 6 p.m. Wednesday practices at Whistler Park.

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