The Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District U15 lacrosse team pulled off back-to-back, come-from-behind “sudden death” victories to win the High Sierra Lacrosse League championship this past Saturday in Tahoe City.
The team’s narrow victories stunned onlookers, given the Tribe’s third-place seed out of the four teams competing for the trophy. The “sudden death” overtime victory in the championship game, against the top-seeded North Reno Outlaws, was particularly inspiring for a number of reasons.
First, the Tribe shrugged off a slow start to draw within one goal by halftime and then, following a fiery pep talk from head coach Shane Tewksbury, managed to tie the game 7-7 by the end of regulation.
Second, the game-winning goal in overtime, by Quintinn Butler, provoked a wave of confusion because it sailed beyond the goal, suggesting a missed shot despite his apparent pinpoint delivery.
Admirably, the goalie for the Outlaws stepped forward and pointed out a hole in the back of the net and acknowledged it was, in fact, the winning shot.
The U15 Truckee squad is largely composed of players still young enough to compete in the U13 age bracket. They also include the only two U15 girls in the entire league.
The first game was also a cliffhanger. Late goals by Justin Wadsworth and Carson McCarron brought the Tribe to a tie against the Mt. Rose Rattlers, sending the game into overtime. Wadsworth swiftly propelled his team to the championship round with yet another goal, which helped earn him MVP honors for the tournament from the rest of the Tribe.
“They did the unbelievable, according to the non-believers,” said Tewksbury, “but if you had witnessed the transformation through the season that I had, you’d understand why I felt the win was almost inevitable.”
Angelo Tenorio, TDRPD’s youth sports coordinator, has witnessed an incredible transformation of his own. The youth lacrosse program that initially struggled to attract enough players to field a full squad has exploded as the sport takes hold in Truckee. TDRPD now runs a program that boasts squads at the U15, U13 and U11 levels.
“I’m fortunate to have some enthusiastic volunteers to help run the show, but the kids are the amazing story,” Tenorio said. “They’re incredibly passionate about lacrosse and I don’t see the growth slowing.”
In fact, interest is so strong that parents and players are pushing for a fall program, according to Lauren OBrien, one of three volunteers who joins Tenorio on the Tribe’s Board of Directors.
“Angelo and TDRPD will have to assess the feasibility of a fall program, but we definitely have the kids for it,” she said.
For more information about the Truckee Tribe and TDRPD lacrosse, contact Obrien at 530-913-4255 or Pete Halberstadt at 530-587-0181.