Juan Diego lacrosse stays on top of state
It may be mid-summer, but the members of Juan Diego Catholic High School boys lacrosse team have memories of a season that will keep them warm long after the summer heat has faded away.
For the second year in a row, the team won the state championship. This season, the Soaring Eagle won 13 straight games to finish the year, culminating with an 8-4 victory over Lone Peak May 18.
“We had a lot of returning players and a great group of seniors which probably set us up as the favorites to repeat,” head coach Patrick Lambert said. “These kids played their hearts out.”
The tragic passing of teammate Matt Jungemann, of Draper, in late March led the Juan Diego squad to put a different emphasis on the field.
“Matt was a player we all loved and a bright spot in my day,” Lambert said. “That really changed the trajectory for our team to where the quest for the championship took second fiddle. Our guys recognized that the most important thing was how we were treating each other.”
The team was led by First Team All-American and Utah’s positional Most Valuable Player Luke Graney, “a fantastic player and teammate” according to Lambert, and First Team Academic All-American and Second Team All-State player Tommy Maddox, “a dynamite standout player.”
First Team All-State players Nick Grogg and Carter Mannix along with Riley Rose, a Second Team All-State selection, and sophomore Matthew Graney were also instrumental in the team’s success this season.
Juan Diego lost its only game of the season in Las Vegas to Nevada’s state champion, Henderson, 18-5 in early April and bounced back to complete a 19-1 season.
At the state tournament in May, Juan Diego defeated Bonneville 11-5 and Pleasant Grove 18-10 to set up a rematch of last year’s title game with Alta. The team found itself down 7-6 at the half, due to a Hawks goal scored in the last second of the first half. Juan Diego scored five unanswered goals in the second half to defeat Alta 13-9. In the final game, the Soaring Eagle squad again trailed at half 2-1, before making some adjustments and outscoring the Knights 8-4.
Others on the team included seniors Alex Day, Nick Hallstrom, Danny Maxwell, Mark Murphy, Zach Olsen and Winston Swicord; juniors Parker Carson, Ryan Green, Harry Jones, Harry Keeran, Carter Mannix, Riley Roderick, Casey Rose and Tyler Stevenson, Mattias Schade, Lkuna Tavake and Paul Flanagan; sophomores Bo Long, Austin Roberts, Jack Maddox and Connor Stolfa; and freshmen Tristan Courtney and Alec Meyer.
Lambert was assisted by Mike Gronseth, Jeff Tack, Shawn Lambert, John Holmes and Brad Tack on the coaching staff. The coach for the past 11 seasons has now stepped down to take a job as principal at Ogden’s St. Joseph Catholic High School.
“This was a pretty great way to finish with a great group of guys,” Lambert said. “I gave everything I had to it, and it’s nice to leave it in a good position. I will always be Juan Diego’s biggest fan.”