Get ready for a lacrosse invasion this weekend

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By Dan Johnson

The third annual Mountain Lax Jam is not your typical sports tournament.

There’s no bracket, for one.

Every team that participates is guaranteed four games; something a lot of other tournaments don’t offer.

“We wanted to create an event that catered more towards the developing of teams,” said Mountain Lacrosse president, Andrew Fletcher. The Mountain Lax Jam runs May 16-18. “Because lacrosse is still a relatively new sport in Colorado, we wanted to do more of a jamboree than a tournament. Give the kids a chance to get out there and play without having to worry so much about who wins and who loses.”

Based on the number of teams enrolled, it’s apparent that Fletcher and company have found a winning formula.

In its first year, the Mountain Lax Jam featured 45 teams - about 25 more than was expected. Last year 75 teams made their way to Evergreen and Fletcher expects around 70 this year.

The high number of teams is somewhat shocking, considering that the regular seasons for most leagues are still going on; and it’s the busiest weekend of the year in prep sports.

“We thought about moving it,” Fletcher said. “But it really is the ideal fit to have it this weekend.”

The Mountain Lax Jam is for boys only, as there’s already a girls event this weekend and Mountain Lacrosse didn’t want to split the talent pool.

Teams from places such as Durango, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Cheyenne, Wyo., Aspen, Steamboat Springs and Fort Collins will be represented.

“It’s a great way to spotlight the mountain community,” Fletcher said. “We’ll use 10 different fields to get all the games in. Field locations will be in Evergreen, Conifer and Clear Creek.”

The growth of lacrosse, particularly in the mountain area, has been fast-paced. Mountain Lacrosse has 350 kids in kindergarten through 8th-grade taking part in the sport. That’s not to mention the two varsity teams at both Conifer and Evergreen high schools. Clear Creek will field a club team next year.

“We’re an all-inclusive recreational league,” Fletcher said. “We don’t have any tryouts. We separate kids based on geography, not skill.”

For a schedule of events for this weekend’s Mountain Lax Jam, visit www.mountainlax.com.