Steamboat Springs Jake Flax will be the first to admit his shortcomings.
He was a 105-pound Steamboat Springs High School freshman in 2003 when he started for the varsity lacrosse team. He redshirted for the Colorado State University club lacrosse team in 2007 and spent several years as the president of the club, seeing more paperwork than playing time.
But what you’ll never hear about Flax is that he lacks sheer will.
Flax, a fifth-year senior for the Rams, recently was named a captain of the Colorado State lacrosse team. There are two other team captains.
“There were definitely some down times,” Flax said Wednesday before practice. “There were times where I wasn’t seeing the field and was low on the depth chart. It seemed like every year I was lower on the depth chart and by the end of the season I was playing. Quitting, though, honestly never crossed my mind.”
Flax, whose brother Andy Flax will play goaltender this year for Colorado State, has come a long way from that 105-pound freshman season.
He started four years for Steamboat before going to Colorado State, one of the top club-level teams in the country. The early parts with the Rams were tough.
Flax rarely played, but he wanted to be part of the team. He kept working and working, eventually seeing some playing time.
“He was overmatched early on,” CSU assistant coach Flip Naumburg said. “Neither of (the Flaxes) are that big. But he’s definitely gotten his stick skills to the point where he is no longer overmatched by big defensemen. He’s great. He just leads by example.”
Flax fell in love with the game almost instantly.
He picked up a stick at a Steamboat Youth Lacrosse camp between his eighth- and ninth-grade years and was hooked.
“I’m very pleased but not surprised,” Steamboat Youth Lacrosse Director Neill Redfern said. “I’m just really proud of him and Andy. They’ve represented our organization since 2004. … He is a great role model for all the kids that played.”
Flax is expected to become a focal point of the offense this year, with his brother battling for the starting spot in goal.
The goal, as it is every year, Jake Flax said, is to win a national championship. The Rams won in 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2006.
Last season, Colorado State was the No. 2 seed heading into the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association Championship Tournament before falling in overtime, 12-11, to Simon Fraser.
“That’s the first time in a long time no one on our team has had a ring,” Flax said. “That’s the first time in a long time. We’re going to change that.”
The club lacrosse season begins in February.