Steamboat’s Ben Wharton shrugs off a Battle Mountain player April 6 en route to an 8-5 victory in Steamboat Springs. The Sailors boys lacrosse team has won 39 consecutive Mountain Conference games and is in the midst of a 13-1 season.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Steamboat’s Ben Wharton shrugs off a Battle Mountain player April 6 en route to an 8-5 victory in Steamboat Springs. The Sailors boys lacrosse team has won 39 consecutive Mountain Conference games and is in the midst of a 13-1 season.

Some say Steamboat boys lacrosse team ranks among best

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— The Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team has won 39 consecutive Mountain Conference games, culminating the season this year with its fourth consecutive conference title.

It picked up its first win against a Front Range foe in two years this season and has gone 4-1 against teams from Denver, as well.

Of course, there is the elephant in the room. Despite its impressive numbers and mounting success, Steamboat never has won a state playoff game.

The program’s building blocks have gone from winning a game to making the playoffs.

Now, in the midst of a 13-1 season, most people involved in the program think this is the most talented team Steamboat has ever fielded.

“I think it’s the best in terms of completeness,” Steamboat coach Bob Hiester said. “This year, I think we’re strong in all the areas. There are no glaring weaknesses. We’re feeling really good about that. I really think we can compete with anybody.”

The past three seasons have seen the Sailors make the playoffs, host a playoff game as the No. 16 seed and eventually lose.

The team lost, 16-11, to Lewis-Palmer in 2009, 10-9 to Fairview in 2010 and 11-7 to Rock Canyon in 2011.

“This is our third year of playing them, and this is the best team ball I’ve seen them play,” said Rock Canyon’s Louis Goldin, whose team is 4-0 against Steamboat since 2010, including the playoff win. “Right now, it’s the best team defense I’ve seen them have. They look more like a team you’d see in the Front Range. They’re very scrappy.”

There are reasons to think this is probably the best team Steamboat has assembled.

Steamboat has outscored its opponents by more than 3 to 1, often getting contributions from as many as eight or nine players. The most telling sign, however, is in the schedule. In previous years, Steamboat would lap conference opponents and fall to Front Range teams.

This season’s 13-1 record shows Steamboat is starting to catch up.

“They would be taken a lot more seriously if they were a Front Range team,” Goldin said. “But they’re going to be a tough out for whoever they play.”

Now, all that is left to decide is where Steamboat fits into the playoff scheme. If the team can close out its season April 30 at Golden with a win that would leave it at 14-1, a top-eight seed and first-round bye wouldn’t be out of the question.

It also should be telling on Wednesday when the team scrimmages at Columbine, a consensus top-five team in Colorado.

“It wouldn’t mean much to win one playoff game,” senior Eric Trousil said. “We’re looking past that. Hopefully, we can win a couple of them.”

With several years of playoff experience behind the players and a team that seems to be the most talented ever, the focus is not just on the first round.

“We’re 14 seconds from being undefeated,” Hiester said. “Our play has been consistent. Our sights aren’t getting past the first round. It’s let’s get deep and win this thing.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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