H.S. Insider: Montana Hosts First-Ever Lax Game

This week's edition of The Insider highlights a historic event as the state of Montana played its very first varsity high school boys' lacrosse game on Sunday. Plus, get the latest details on the 11th Annual Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival, currently billed as the largest single-day high school lacrosse tournament in the country.

Hellgate Edges Big Sky, 7-5, in First-Ever Montana High School Lacrosse Game

It's no secret that lacrosse is growing rapidly across the nation at the youth and high school level. The latest example came on Sunday as the state of Montana hosted its first-ever boys' high school lacrosse game when the Hellgate Knights faced the Big Sky Eagles at Dornblaser Field on the campus of the University of Montana.

Despite facing a 3-1 deficit early, the Knights stormed back to post a 7-5 win, the first of hopefully many more victories to come for the program. Spencer Schultz led all scorers with four goals for Hellgate while sophomore goaltender Logan Kuhn stopped 21 shots. Coty Becker led the Eagles with two goals and two assists.

"It was a pretty cool feeling," said Hellgate head coach Kevin Flynn, a former lacrosse standout at the University of Montana. "It was also a great chance to reflect on what's been a lot of work over the years."

After years of club-level lacrosse and traveling to neighbors Idaho and Washington for games, six varsity teams have now emerged in the state for the 2011 season. Meanwhile, in January, US Lacrosse welcomed Montana into its group of regional chapters. And now, for the first time, Montana will crown a state champion and even choose all-stars.

"I think the sport will catch on pretty quickly now that the ball is rolling," said Flynn, who estimated that more than 1,000 kids are now playing lacrosse across the state, up from about 100 participants just five years ago. "The kids are interested, they want to be outside and they want to be physical. We're also getting a good response from parents and players. As soon as people see the sport in action, they want to be involved."

Meanwhile, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are the only remaining states yet to recognize lacrosse at the high school level.

11th Annual Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival Set for April 30

On April 30, a total of 54 varsity lacrosse teams are set to participate in the 11th Annual Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival at Radnor High School just outside of Philadelphia. The festival will feature 28 girls' teams and 26 boys' squads in what's being advertised as the largest single-day high school lacrosse showcase in the nation.

On the boys' side, notable match-ups include defending Pennsylvania champs Conestoga taking on perennial juggernaut Haverford School, Garnet Valley facing Malvern Prep, and Abington battling La Salle College HS.

Meanwhile, noteworthy girls' match-ups feature Downingtown East taking on Archbishop Carroll, Harriton facing Unionville, plus other games including regional powers Radnor, Springfield-Delco and Notre Dame Academy.

The festival is inspired by Samson, a former Division III lacrosse star at Middlebury College and NCAA champion. In 2000, Samson suffered a spinal cord accident that paralyzed her from the chest down. Last year, the Katie Samson Foundation went over the $1,000,000 donation mark and has donated to various charities supporting spinal cord research and care.

Have high school lacrosse news to share? Contact staff writer Adam Warner at adam@laxpower.com.


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