2014 Yampa Valley Athlete of the Year
There were questions about this year’s Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team, real questions about whether or not it would be able to replicate the success of the 2013 season, when the team made the state semifinals.
The Sailors graduated 14 seniors, and even more importantly, returned for the first time ever without Hall of Fame coach Bob Hiester.
Sure, there was still talent, but that kind of talent? Sure, there was another coach, Jay Lattimore, but could he lead a team that far?
The answer, it turned out, was yes, a resounding yes.
Time will tell if Lattimore can keep the program on the same track Heister had it on, but in year one, the Sailors again proved to have the talent, the skill and the swagger to thrive in Class 4A lacrosse, and they proved good enough again to rank as the Yampa Valley boys team of the year.
Steamboat ran through the early portion of its schedule, defeating regional teams and the occasional Front Range opponent. It survived a major threat to its undefeated ambitions with a fourth-quarter rally against Cheyenne Mountain. It climbed as high as 12-0 before a pair of losses against the state’s top teams, 11-10 at Valor Christian and 16-13 at home versus Aspen.
Steamboat would get its revenge, though. It thumped Conifer at home, 14-4, in the first round of the playoffs, then upset Valor, 14-8, to earn a trip, again, to the state semifinals. The season ended again there, but even that highlighted the character of the team. The Sailors went down desperately trying to score, even in the final seconds when all realistic hope of a comeback had dissipated.