Steamboat Springs boys lacrosse team preps for first year in Class 4A

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— It has been two years in the making.

Ever since the Colorado High School Activities Association announced in January 2011 that lacrosse would split into two classifications, the date has been circled on calendars throughout lacrosse-hungry Steamboat Springs homes.

Now, with the Steamboat Springs High School program set for its 2013 opener at 5:30 p.m. Friday at home against Eagle Valley, the time is here.

Steamboat is expected to be a contender in Class 4A, away from the larger schools in Denver. The Sailors opened the season ranked third in the inaugural 4A poll put out by The Denver Post. Wheat Ridge was No. 1, and Air Academy was No. 2.

“We haven’t talked about" the ranking, Steamboat coach Bob Hiester said. “Without a ball game, you can’t tell anything. The jury is out.”

That could be the case, but Steamboat is coming off its best season in program history. The Sailors won the first playoff game in school history last year before falling to Kent Denver.

The team returns a contingent of starters, including Christian Ramirez, Ben Wharton, Penn Lukens, Michael Wong, Dane Dixson and Peter White.

The Mountain League should be better this year with Summit and Battle Mountain providing threats to Steamboat’s reign. The Sailors never have lost a league game, ripping off a string of 38 consecutive wins.

“I think the kids have been ready for this since the end of last year,” Hiester said. “We’re ready to get going. We need to get on the field. We need to play games.”

Steamboat also plays at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at home against Green Mountain. The games can be heard on 98.9 and 97.7 FM.

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

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