Good morning lacrosse fans. Thank you for taking time out of your day for the Utah Lax Report. Don’t forget to forward to a friend, it’s the best way for the newsletter to grow.
Interview w/ Bob Imhoff
Imhoff at the LXM Pro game in 2013 with Kyle Harrison
My guest on the podcast is Bob Imhoff, who is the wizard behind the curtain that is boy’s youth officiating. Imhoff is the boys youth officials assigner for IMLax which means he is in charge of making sure youth games have officials at them. We spoke about his role, what it takes to be an official and more.
Want to be an official?
Head to imlaxutah.org and click on the ‘Officials’ tab. If you’re 16 and older, you can ref youth games starting at the end of the month. Youth officials start at $36 per hour. Also, never forget: ‘a game without refs is just a scrimmage.’
While you’re out and about at games this week, stop by Vessel Kitchen. You won’t be disappointed.
High School Previews
Fellow lacrosse fans, I have an announcement: there are live games today! This day has been a long time coming for all of you out there who had a season cut short last year. I’ll be at the Farmington/Juan Diego game and can’t wait!
Boys: Cedar Vally hosts its first lacrosse game ever against Maple Mountain who is also in its first year. Coach Rykert at Cedar Valley said, “I'm looking forward to the way our athletes gel together in an actual game situation and to see their lacrosse IQ improve. I'm also excited to see how their hard work in the weight room pays off.”
Farmington hosts No. 10 Juan Diego.
Girls: Weber @ East will kick off the girl’s season.
Boys: Layton will play its first lacrosse game as they take on Logan. Lehi and Westlake waste no time in its rivalry series while all eyes will be on No. 2 Park City v. No. 4 Lone Peak.
Girls: Layton hosts its first home game ever when it takes on Bonneville. Pleasant Grove hosts neighbor Timpanogos while No. 6 Alta hosts No. 4 Corner Canyon.
Boys: Payson, who dons my favorite logo, will begin its lacrosse career against West Jordan.
Boys: No. 9 Fremont takes on Logan while No. 6 Mountain Ridge hosts No. 4 Lone Peak.
Girls: Payson travels two hours to take on Bear River, one of the longer road trips for any team. No. 4 Corner Canyon hosts Jordan, while the Rams of Highland take the field as a standalone program for the first time since 2003 when it hosts Pleasant Grove.
Boys: No. 5 Olympus heads to Bountiful while No. 2 Park City travels to No. 8 Bingham in my favorite mascot match-up: Silver Miner v. Copper Miner. Another rivalry takes place this day when No. 3 Brighton hosts Alta. Two preseason tournaments kick-off as well: Battle at the Beet (Corner Canyon, Viewmont, Clearfield, Ridgeline) and the Bulldog Brawl (Green Canyon, Timpanogos, Provo, Herriman, UMA, West Jordan, Maple Mountain). Both events continue on Saturday.
Girls: No. 6 Alta hosts No. 2 Brighton. Should be a great game!
Utah Midfielder Jack Barron, c/o Utah Athletics/Ben Haslam
The Utah Utes fell to Jacksonville, 8-3, on Saturday. "I thought we had a great week of practice, so I didn't sense it there, but we definitely didn't handle pressure really well," said Utah head coach Brian Holman. "I thought we got manhandled there a little bit. I was really proud of our defense, though. I thought defensively our athleticism shows up. That's something I knew before the year started that most of our older, more veteran, guys are on the defensive side of the ball." (Recap | Box Score) The Utes will host Westminster next Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Fans are not allowed at this time.
Westminster took to the road and beat Montevallo, 15-8 (Recap | Box Score), on Friday then edged Alabama-Huntsville, 11-10 (Recap | Box Score), on Saturday. The Griffins scored three goals at the end to win the game.
The BYU Cougars beat Grand Canyon on Thursday, 12-7, then bested Minnesota on Saturday, 21-3. BYU will take on Westminster on March 19.
Utah Valley beat Minnesota, 18-14, on Friday then lost to Grand Canyon in overtime, 12-11. It’s the third consecutive game between UVU/Grand Canyon that has been settled in overtime. UVU beat the Lopes in 2016 and 2019. UVU will take on Arizona on March 20.
The Utah State Aggies will host Montana in a double-header on March 19/20.
The Westminster Women’s team started the season with a loss to UC-Colorado Springs, 11-20 (Recap | Box Score), and Regis, 3-17 (Box Score). The Griffins will take to the road and face Colorado Mesa on March 27.
The BYU Women’s team will take on the Utes on March 20.
Thank you to those who filled out the fandom survey. Here’s a few interesting points to think about:
17 of 132 people who responded won’t watch a professional game this year. That’s interesting to me. I’d love to know why (leave a comment or send me an email).
Always an interesting statistic. Probably not a big surprise to most.
I asked who would win the Boys and Girls High School championships and Corner Canyon (41 votes) and Park City (38 votes) were the top vote-getters.
I asked people to send in their questions so here they are with my responses. I certainly don’t know everything so feel free to leave a comment if you have a constructive answer. I also asked for input from a few others:
Q: How in the world did Northridge get ranked below Davis/Fremont. People are wild.
A: Great question! I heard Northridge beat Davis in the fall but we all know to put little stock into that. Let’s see how the results pan out!
Q: Best way to raise the overall competitive level of high school lacrosse in the state?
A: This is a great question. There is the physical aspect of it: either getting current lacrosse athletes to train in the offseason/lift weights or to recruit other athletes at the school to join the ranks. Obviously improved stick skills from top to bottom and the mental side of the game need to be improved. 37% of people who responded to the survey are going to watch 0-5 professional games this year. There are college games on TV/ESPN+/YouTube, etc every weekend. You don’t have to watch them this weekend but watch them in the summer/fall/winter if that works better for you. This goes for coaches too. Ask your coaches how many games they watched this weekend. The answer may surprise you. It’s also crucial to build the local youth programs.
Q: Don’t sleep on Timpview.
A: Believe me, I’ve heard from the T-Bird fans out there. 17 returning starters is a great foundation for a run to a title.
Q: The reclassifying/current RPI model for playoff seedings at the end of the season is really bad. Please let Taylor Redd be a guest writer to explain how bad it is.
A: Taylor, you have my email… Look, the grass is always greener on the other side. Let’s be grateful we are playing games at all, regardless of how they are ranked. Only one team can win the title no matter how the teams get there.
Q: How can we help get each participating high school a spotlight on your social media?
A: Tag us when you post! I have no method to my madness but I’ll do the best I can.
Q: What were the high school rankings based off of?
A: I believe this question is in regard to the region rankings which were based off the coaches votes in that region.
Q: Will fans be able to attend high school lacrosse games?
A: Consult the home team. They will surely have some sort of restriction so be sure to know before you go.
Q: What are the best ways to continue to build momentum in the youth programs?
A: Make it fun. The players have to have fun playing and the coaches have to have fun coaching. Having fun is contagious so if those things happen it will grow. One of my favorite years coaching was a 7/8th grade team combined with players from Highland, East and West. It was so fun to coach that team because the kids were having fun and it was a great time all around. Getting kids tons of touches in practices goes a long way.
Q: Being in Nebo School District, sanctioning has been very disheartening. Nebo just hasn't been receptive to lacrosse where most all other high schools have been.
A: We always knew there would be growing pains when sanctioning happened. It’s manifested itself in many ways for a variety of teams. Nebo is used to having one team and have five now. That’s pretty good in one year. We’ll look back in 10 years and laugh at the things that plague us today. I should mention that we have a responsibility as a lacrosse community to represent the sport in the best light. Our actions are judged more than others.
Q: What's happening with the coaches within Utah lacrosse. Many coaches took a pay cut going over into the schools. From whats been seen from this year and last year there are many coaches that have stepped down and many first time coaches as head coaches.
A: If your primary reason for coaching lacrosse is money then coaching probably isn’t for you. However, that doesn’t mean coaches should coach for free. There’s plenty of ways to get creative when it comes to pay, especially in the offseason while the team is ‘club’. A possible reason many coaches are stepping down is because being a head coach at a sanctioned high school takes a ton of off-the-field work. There’s a reason the school encourages head coaches to be part of the faculty. A friend who is a head coach spent 10+ hours at the school last week doing admin work on top of 10+ hours coaching.
Q: What’s the future for girls lacrosse?
A: It looks bright to me. We’ll have the most high school teams we’ve ever had which in theory means more girls playing this year than any other year. My daughter just began playing at a newly formed 3/4 program this season.
Q: What is the biggest need in Utah youth and high school lax right now?
A: Hopefully you listened to the podcast! I’d say officials is the biggest one right now. Imagine a scenario where you get a call that your game is cancelled because there aren’t enough refs. Wouldn’t it be nice to have three refs at JV games this year? Coaches are always in need at every level. No one should coach alone. It’s miserable. I’ve done it and it sucks. Once someone decides to coach, it’s then crucial that they work to improve their coaching. There are many ways to do that.
I think that’s it for this week. If you’ve made it this far, thank you! Please forward this to a friend who also loves lacrosse.
— Tim Haslam