Steamboat boys lacrosse wins 39th straight conference game |

Steamboat boys lacrosse wins 39th straight conference game

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs senior John Wharton rushes down the field Thursday as the Sailors beat up on Aspen, closing out Steamboat's regular season home schedule with a rousing win.

— Undoubtedly, there was a sense of accomplishment.

Maybe more important was a greater feeling that it could just be the beginning.

With Thursday's 16-3 drubbing of Aspen, the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team accomplished something rarely seen here in high school sports.

The Sailors locked up their fourth straight Mountain Conference title in a row Thursday, a span of 39 straight wins against conference opponents.

The win also locked up a playoff spot for Steamboat. That is where there is that feeling that this might be the beginning.

No Sailors team ever has won a playoff game. But no Steamboat team ever has played with this much refinement.

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Winning the conference "is a big thing," Steamboat coach Bob Hiester said. "They talk about that. 40-0 (sic) is a big thing. These guys have been a part of this program since they were freshmen. It is a big deal."

With no conference games remaining, Steamboat now is playing for seeding.

The Sailors have two Front Range opponents left, starting at 2 p.m. Saturday at Valor Christian, as well as a scrimmage with state lacrosse power Columbine.

Before Steamboat could get to where it is now, however, it had to deal with rival Aspen. The Skiers, at least on paper, came in and looked like they would present a challenge.

That changed quicker than the weather.

The Sailors jumped out to a 5-1 first-quarter lead and had all but decided the game by half, waltzing into the break with a 10-2 lead.

"We were making sure we got what we needed to do get done," said senior John Wharton, who tossed in three goals. "We had a really strong first half."

That hasn't always been the case. Steamboat traditionally starts slow. But by the time the fourth quarter hit, Steamboat had a running clock because of the mercy rule.

"If we're going to advance, we have to have the ability to start fast," Hiester said. "There are places we can get better, but there are no glaring weaknesses with our team."

Senior Wilber Ranieri led the Sailors with five goals. Ben Wharton had three, Peter White had two and Kai Rogers, Christian Ramirez and Lance Ostrom each had one.

Steamboat (12-1 overall, 9-0 in Mountain Conference) now looks toward the tail end of the season.

It starts Saturday at Valor Christian. While winning another conference title was sweet, Thursday seemed like the house salad to what hopefully soon is a rack of lamb.

"There is a feeling that we're a good lacrosse team," Hiester said. "There is a confidence there."

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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