Olympus boys lacrosse in process of establishing elite status
Jun 19, 2017 02:23PM ● Published by Kelly Cannon
Olympus defender Chase Thatcher takes the ball up the field. Thatcher is one of the six seniors who graduated this spring. (Steve Crandall/ Holladay)
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The present and future of the Olympus boys lacrosse team are only looking brighter. While unfortunately losing in the first round of the playoffs, the team is already reestablishing themselves as one of the elite contenders in high school boys lacrosse.
The process began last fall when new coach Matthew Duke-Rosati took the helm. Duke-Rosati, an alum of the University of Arizona’s men’s team and former defensive coordinator for the University of Utah’s men’s team, was ready to make an instant impact.
“We got a new coach in the fall. Right after that, as a captain, I realized how special this season could be,” said senior captain Steele Headen.
Headen was a star for the team this year, elected to the first team all-state as a defender. Headen had played on varsity the past three years, and Duke-Rosati was their third coach in four years. But that didn’t stop the team and the players understanding what they could accomplish this season.
And their season was special. The team ended the season 12-2 in the top division, Class A, finishing 7th in state. They beat Brighton for the first time ever, and beat Skyline for the first time in four years.
“We had a really solid team, a lot of individual talent, good underclassmen and very talented and dedicated coaches,” Headen said.
Hopes were high for the playoffs. They drew a very strong Fremont team in the first round, which included four all-state first team members, as well as an All-American midfielder.
After a hard-fought game, Fremont won by one goal, 8-7. “It was a disappointing way to end the season. We dominated every stat, like time of possession, ground balls, etc. But we lost all but two of 17 faceoffs. It was disappointing, but it was good game,” Duke-Rosati said.
For the players, the mindset was more somber. “It hit us after, that for the seniors, it would be the last time we would play for the team, with these teammates. It was very emotional, very hard,” Headen said.
While the special season ended with a frustrating playoff game, the only direction for the team now is forward.
Coach Duke-Rosati, who was recognized as the U.S. Lacrosse Coach of the Year for the state of Utah this season, is excited for the future. “We want to reestablish Olympus as an elite lacrosse school,” Duke-Rosati said.
After graduating six seniors, five of whom were significant members of the team, the team will rely on its underclassmen to get them to elite status. “Our sophomores won the state championship in 8th grade, and as a whole, our underclassmen were great this year. The pipeline is chalked full of talent,” Duke-Rosati said.
While Olympus’ special season ended on a sour note, the program has a lot to look forward to. With a talented younger core looking to step up and a dedicated coach already winning accolades in his first year, that elite status may be much closer than anyone realizes.