A lot has happened in the last 39 years… the Berlin Wall fell, the internet was born, the human genome was mapped, the space shuttle came and went, and the Vail Lacrosse Shootout Men’s Elite division crowned 39 champions. Much has changed about the Shootout during that time, sometimes for the better (e.g. 2 point-line) & sometime for the worse (e.g. neon’s recent comeback) but the high level lacrosse, beautiful scenery, and lively town of Vail have consistently drawn participants for decades. This year 20 teams have journeyed from across the country to compete for the title of 40th Vail Lacrosse Shootout Men’s Elite champion.
In 2011, Team Merrill Lynch returned to their championship ways with one of the most potent offenses in tournament history. Tallying 66 goals in four games (an average of 16.5 goals per game) Merrill Lynch rode the performance of Tournament MVP Kyle Wharton (Johns Hopkins ’11) to the team’s second title. It has been said that the “best defense is a good offense” and with the Shootout’s 30 second shot clock, Merrill Lynch did an excellent job managing the unique rules on both ends of the field. Merrill Lynch’s Vail resume now includes: two Vail Lacrosse Shootout Championships, three “final four” appearances, and six championship bracket appearances. With a seat at the table when discussing the most successful Vail Lacrosse Shootout teams of all-time Merrill Lynch is the early favorite in 2012.
While Merrill Lynch did walk away victorious from last year’s championship game, runners-up Rocky Mountain Oysters / Lax.com were – by far – the most remarkable story the Shootout has seen in the 21st century. Perennial tournament participants, the Oysters used a deliberate, controlling offensive system and spectacular goaltending to earn their first championship appearance. No game showcased this more than the 2011 semi-finals; the Oysters overcame heavily favored Maverik Elite (2010 champions), in possibly the greatest upset in Shootout history.
The remaining two teams from last year’s semi-final are back for the 2012 Vail Shootout, Maverik Elite and Team Harrow (formerly Team Chipotle) will have excellent odds to win a 2012 title. Additionally, Brine Elite, Denver City Lax / Encore, Team One’s Jammin’ Salmon, Team Gutman, Warrior X, Tunesquad, Southern Combat Americans, Back Country Brewery, The LOFers, Prestige Lacrosse Club, Eager Beavers and True Lacrosse Club all return for another round of Shootout action.
Newcomers to the 40th year of the Vail Lacrosse Shootout Men’s Elite division include The Big Green Herd, The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Balance Bar, and Crease Beavers.
Get ready for another high-flying Vail Lacrosse Shootout! Let’s meet the teams . . .
Team Merrill Lynch
Coach: Paul Landaiche Jr.
Team Preview: Team Merrill Lynch incorporates pink and purple with our uniforms, the colors representing cancer awareness and to raise awareness for the American Cancer Society and other organizations committed to finding cures for breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers. In addition, the team has once again supported the United Way as individuals and a company.
We would like to thank our longtime partner, Lacrossewear, and Bo Lamon for his continued support. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management is the world’s leading wealth management, capital markets and advisory firm, with offices in 40 countries and territories and total client assets in excess of $2 trillion.
Rocky Mountain Oysters / Lax.com
Coach/Organizer: Chris Parsons/Aaron Laaveg
Key Players: Ben Brown (Goalie), Logan Bobzien (Attack), Alex Moore (Midfield), Neth Wiedemann (Defense), John Loftus (Defense) Team Preview: Many opposing teams naively started their 2011 matches against the Rocky Mountain Oysters full of anticipation and expectation, only to find themselves in the depths of despondency and defeat. The team consists of a brilliant mixture of local Colorado stars and east coast studs.
Talisman Logan Bobzien (2008 All America) will quarterback the rapid fire offensive assault with pulsating precision. Any opposing LSM in this tournament will need to produce a moment of magic in order to stop the crafty moves of midfielder Alex Moore (2004 All America). Other players to watch include the tactically astute Mat Ballay and current local star Eric Law of the University of Denver and Arapahoe High School.
Between the pipes, Ben Brown’s energy and scintillating reflexes will present a challenge to any shooter. In addition, any capable dodger will need to beat Neth Wiedemann (2008 All America); who can throw lethal checks with a ferocity bordering on barbaric. Lastly, veteran John Loftus (2005 All America) will expertly marshal the clears with ingenuity and regimental efficiency. We’d like to thank Lax.com for their support and dedication to the sport.
Coaches and Organizers John Gagliardi, Gary Rosenbach and Paul Moskevitz
Key Players: Niko Amato (Goalie, Maryland), Scott Ratliff (LSM, Loyola), Peter Baum (Attack, Colgate) Mike Chanenchuk (Middie, Maryland)
Team Preview: Maverik Elite is made of current college players from Univ. of Maryland, Univ. of North Carolina, Syracuse University, Duke University, Cornell University and a number of other Division I and Division III schools.
On offense Peter Baum, fresh off putting together one of the best individual NCAA seasons in the modern era, will lead Maverik’s talented group. Baum, the 2012 Tewaaraton award winner, 2012 Lt. Raymond J. Enners award winner, 2012 USILA All-America First Team member, and 2012 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year will be a tough matchup for opposing long poles. On the other end of the field for Maverik, goaltender Nick Amato, starter from the 2012 NCAA runners-up Maryland Terrapins, returns to the Shootout after being named to the Vail Lacrosse All-Tournament team in 2011.
Maverik Lacrosse is an equipment and apparel company started in 2005 by John Gagliardi and is based in New York City. Look for a high paced game played by the Maverik Elite Team.
Coaches: Tom Konkel and Dan Murray
Key Players: Austin Konkel (University of Denver), Joey Murray (University of Denver), Patrick Murray (Georgetown) Davey Emala (University of North Carolina)
Team Preview: Team Harrow (formerly Team Chipotle) consists of players from all over the country. Many schools are represented – Denver, North Carolina, Georgetown, Virginia, CSU, RPI, Sacred Heart and others.
Led by childhood friends and old Regis Jesuit high school teammates Joey Murray and Austin Konkel, Some other key players include Patrick Murray and Brian Will from Georgetown, Davey Emala from North Carolina, and Greyson Konkel from MCLA champion Colorado State, Rhody Heller from UVA and the “All-Time Emotional Leader of Team Harrow” Stephen Gerhard from Sacred Heart. Thanks to Harrow Sports and Suburban Toppers for their sponsorships!
Team Founder: ENS Matt Keller – USNA 2009
Team Managers: Tom Keller and Jimmy Harrison
Key Players: Ryan Danehy (Dartmouth ’06), Connor Mooney (UMass ’14), Jimmy Harrison (Holy Cross ’09) Mike Levin (Brown ’04)
Team Preview: This year’s Brine Elite Team brings its usual mix of Brine Elite Summer League alums and their friends. Players are primarily from the Division One ranks. As team founder Matt Keller USNA ’09 is now a proud member of Riverine Squad III, the team will dedicate this tournament to all the brave men and women who make up this part of the Navy.
Denver City Lax / Encore
Coaches: Kyle Harrison, Sean McCarthy and Ben Allison
Team Preview: City Lax is back at the Shootout for a second year after getting our feet wet in 2011 winning the Consolation Championship. This group of talented college players, recent graduates, and professional players made up of past and present All-Americans meets in Vail to compete and support Denver City Lax, a sports based youth development non-profit focused on introducing the sport of lacrosse to under-served neighborhoods while teaching life values and the importance of education. Coach Kyle Harrison (2005 NCAA Tewaaraton Winner and 3x NCAA All-America) brings a prestigious lacrosse resume to the team and looks to guide Denver City Lax / Encore to its first Championship Bracket appearance.
We are excited and thankful to connect with our sponsor Encore Brand and it’s founder John Christmas. Encore is alifestyle/social awareness apparel brand assisting non-profits providing opportunities to kids, and is guided by the credo Action is Character. We also want to thank Boathouse Sports for keeping us in style with our uniforms. Most importantly, we want to thank everyone whose ongoing support continues to fuel the numerous success stories of Denver City Lax kids on the field and in the classroom. For more information or to make a donation please visit our website at: http://www.DenverCityLax.org
Coaches and Organizers: Tom Conrad, Craig Haynes
Key Players: Hunter Hall (Midfield, Whittier College, 2014); Dylan Leary (Midfield, Air Force, 2013); Erik Smith (Midfield, Air Force, 2013); Bryan Price (Midfield, Air Force, 2013); Brian Kormondy (Attack, Delaware, 2014); Dan Guidarelli (Midfield, Delaware, 2014) Team Preview: These are Colorado Boys. Warrior X is made up primarily of Arapahoe High School Alumni (Centennial, Colorado) who played on the 2009 Colorado Championship team. The team continues to play with or against each other for CU, CSU and UNC, others are playing for Division I and Division III teams including Delaware, Air Force and Whittier College. This will be Warrior X’s second trip to the Men’s Elite division but they are no strangers to the tournament. With most of last year’s players returning they are sure to form a cohesive unit with many surprises. We would like to thank Breakaway Sports.
Team One’s Jammin’ Salmon
Coach: John Combs & Mike Parnell
Key Players: Alex Love (A – Hobart College #4), Lance Yapor (A – Hofstra #2), R.G. Keenan (F/O Univ. North Carolina #25), Mike Bocklet (M – Fairfield), Rafe Mattingly (D – Hobart College #34) and Max Silberlicht (G – Hobart College #9)
Team Preview: The Jammin’ Salmon are back with a revamped school of fish, after a sub-par performance last year. The “Fish” have put together a mix of youth and experience, as they look to swim back into title contention! A crafty attack will cause fits for the opposition and will be lead by sharp shooter Alex Love. A solid midfield anchored by face-off specialist R.G. Keenan will take a little pressure off a savvy defense, headed by lock-down defensemen Rafe Mattingly. The Salmon will unveil a new look for this year’s Shootout, but expect alot of the same angling tactics! The Fish would like to thank our sponsors: TeamONE Lacrosse Co. (t1lax.com) & to Doug Conway at the LaxShop (laxshop.com) for their support and generous donations.
Coach/Organizer: Stephen Brown, Colton Vieira & Ann Eazor
Key Players: Marcus Walker (Air Force), Jimmy Eazor (Sacred Heart), Sean Davies
Team Preview: Backcountry Brewery is comprised of many Denver area kids and the teammates we were able to drag out to Vail for the weekend. There are kids from schools all around the country, ranging from Santa Clara to Virginia Beach. We represent the MCLA, DIII, DII, and DI on our diverse roster. Thanks to The Backcountry Brewery (located on the Main Street of Frisco, CO).
Southern Combat Americans
Coaches: Brian Leistikow and Greg Rushing
Key Players Ryan LaPlante (Goalie, DU), Connor Saller (UNC, Middie), Daniel Caddoo (Mesa, Attack)
Team Preview: The Southern Combat Americans is made up of some of the best players from Colorado including a heavy contingent from the Fort Collins Unified teams of the past. The team has a good mix of Division I, Division II, Division III, and MCLA players and looks to improve on their 2011 performance.
Organizer: Ed Condon (coach), Spencer Curley (organizer), Nick Condon (organizer)
Key Players: Keegan Bowman (Carthage College, Attack, 2012), Keaton Ohara (Bellarmine, Midfield, 2012), Ryan Knautz (Adrian College, Midfield, 2011)
Team Preview: Making its second appearance in the Men’s Elite Division, Tunesquad looks to improve on its second place finish in the B division last year. With the majority of players representing the Midwest, Tunesquad players hail from Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Colorado, California, and Canada spanning all three divisions of the NCAA and the MCLA. Tunesquad carries with it an abundance of all conference awards and a couple collegiate championship appearances.
Coach and Organizer: Ted Baruch
Key Players: Chris Bluse (University of Colorado/Chicago Machine), Alex Baruch (Denison, San Francisco Dragons), Justin Dunn (Goucher, 2x All America)
Team Preview: The LOFers organizers and players from their Vail women’s and men’s teams, hosted/staffed their 18th Annual Warrior Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Jamboree in June of 2012. This year’s Jamboree may have set a world record for the most participants in any lacrosse event held over a single weekend with 443 teams competing. The Lacrosse Outreach Foundation is a grass roots, volunteer based non-profit that has been supporting lacrosse in Colorado since 1994. We are proud to have our LOFers Vail & Europe team sponsored by Rock-It Pocket.
Organizer: Tom Petty Team Preview: This year, Team Gutman returns with its Middlebury packed roster. This affords them the advantage of instant team chemistry since most of the team has been playing with one another for many years at the Division III level.
True Lacrosse Club Coaches and Organizers: Ryan Covert
Key Players: Patrick Moran (Defense, Le Moyne); Mark Bundra (Midfield, Providence); LC Moerschel (Midfield, Drexel) Tem Preview: True Lacrosse is made up of coaches from around the True program as well as friends from college and the lacrosse community. Our fan support for the women’s tournament continues, with legendary sideline performance as well as stints in the coaching booth. No more shirtless brave hearts are expected this year as the team looks to perform well and improve on their .500 performance from 2011.
Prestige Lacrosse Club Coaches and Organizers: Greg Sprenzel and John Sprenzel
Key Players: Mike Fox (Mid, Ohio State,); Jesse Churchward (Defense, Towson); John Sprenzel (Goalie, University of St. Thomas) Team Preview: Prestige Lacrosse Club is made up of post-collegiate players who have all played college club or NCAA level lacrosse. Most of our players grew up in the Midwest and continue to play/coach in the Midwest. This will be our second trip to Vail and it never gets boring. Look for Prestige to be fast in the midfield with a stout defense which is headed up by Jesse Churchward, James Miller and capped off with a strong goalie duo. We would like to thank our sponsors: Illinois Bone and Joint Institute and Installation Specialists Inc.
Team Preview: Formerly Team Awesome, the Beavers come to the 2012 Shootout looking to improve on last year’s 16th place finish. A mix of Colorado locals and others from across the country, they played several close contests last year and now with some Vail experience under their belt should find more success this year.
The Big Green Herd Coaches/Organizers: Ryan O’Connor, Brad Heritage
Key Players: Todd Heritage (A, Bucknell, 2014); Kyle Menendez (D, Stevenson, 2011); Jackson Place (D, Bucknell, 2014); Kip Dooley (A/M, Dartmouth, 2012), Mike Devine (M, Eastern Connecticut, 2014)
Team Preview: The Big Green Herd [BGH], from where its name was derived, is made up of a strong contingent of current and former players from Dartmouth College and Bucknell University. Beyond those hailing from those two institutes of higher education, the BGH is rounded out with a very strong group of players who have excelled at all levels of the game. With an experienced and seasoned defense, led by savvy veterans Ryan O’Connor and Paul Stansik, and backstopped by netminder Mike Novosel, goals should be hard to come by against the Herd.
Offensively, the BGH has very capable playmakers in attackmen Todd Heritage, Drew Tunney, and Ronjohn Dadd, while the presense of Nick Bonacci, Kip Dooley, Kevin Ryan, and Mike Devine from the midfield should put serious pressure on opposing defensive units. The BGH prides itself on making plays with hustle and camaraderie at the core of its approach. We’d like to thank the event organizers for their tireless work in putting the Shootout together and our friends/family for their support.
Coaches: Brian Hubbard and Drew Wardlow
Key Players: Brendan Porter (Midfield, Rutgers, LXM Pro, 2010); Austin Geisler (Goalie, UVA, 2015); Kyle Denhoff (Midfield, St. John Fisher, 2012)
Team Preview: Fellowship of Christian Athletes is made up from players from all over the country. FCA Lacrosse vision is to present to athletes and coaches, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church. 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the first FCA Lacrosse Team to compete in the Vail Shootout
Balance Bar Coaches/Organizers: Chris Linko (Lehigh), Andrew Margve (Lehigh), Audi Glass (Bishop’s), Ben Cowie (Vermont)
Key Players: Ty Thompson, Eric Law, Chase Carraro
Team Preview: Balance Bar is all about creating convenient and healthy foods that taste great and can be enjoyed while you do whatever it is you love to do. It’s a busy world out there and we all need fuel to help us achieve our goals and better enjoy our active, on-the-go lives. Balance strives to be there to help you, the athletes of life. When stepping on the field Balance Bar is just what you need to OUTLAST the Opposition. Visit us at www.balance.com.
Coaches/Organizers: Dylan Gray Ritger, Tyler Ankarlo, Amy Ritger
Key Players: Sam Van Hook (Holy Cross, Goalie); Tom Gerwick (UMBC, Defenseman); Tyler Ankarlo (Chapman, Attack); Kyle O’Brien (Air Force, Midfielder) and Sander Aplet (University of Denver, Midfielder).
Team Preview: The Crease Beavers are a young and exciting team with a strong Colorado connection. The players are former Colorado high school lacrosse players who competed against each other in the high school season and then played together on the Denver Elite and other summer teams. All are now freshman or sophomores playing college lacrosse at D1, D3, and club levels. Seventeen of the Beavers are former Colorado All State Players. The Crease Beavers would like to thank our sponsor StyLax, Laurel Krishock for our original artwork, and Amy Ritger for getting the team organized.