Sean Harmon has seen the level of lacrosse in the Colorado Spring area improve over the past dozen years. Now, the state seeding is beginning to reflect that change.
In the girls’ lacrosse bracket that was released on Tuesday, Harmon’s Air Academy squad drew the No. 3 seed and three others from the Southern League will join them in the 20-team field – including three among the top 11 seeds.
Last year was the first time the Southern League had three teams in the tournament. This is the first time it has reached four.
“It just shows the level of lacrosse is getting better here in the Springs,” said Harmon, who has coached at Air Academy since lacrosse became a CHSAA-recognized sport in the 1999-2000 school year. “When we started it was Denver-centric and that’s where all the power was.”
The emergence of Palmer Ridge (12-3 and seeded 10th), which finished second in the league this year, and Cheyenne Mountain (11-4, seeded 11th) has helped to make’s the league’s drop off after Air Academy a bit less pronounced. Fountain Valley (8-4) also made the field this year as the No. 19 seed and opens at No. 14 Columbine on Wednesday.
“It’s just the result of great coaching,” Harmon said of the work done by Palmer Ridge’s Nancy Fritzsche, Cheyenne Mountain’s Mary Serre and Fountain Valley’s Ally Mavelli.
The team to watch out of the area is still the Kadets (15-2), who haven’t lost a league game since 2005. This season Air Academy beat the Bears 19-5, the Indians 21-2 and the Danes 25-5.
The only losses for the Kadets came in a 17-11 setback to defending champion Cherry Creek and 15-14 to Carondelet of Concord, Calif., which is on track to win a state championship.
Three of Air Academy’s games this year came against out-of-state competition, but Harmon said that is not a result of the area’s inability to test his team, but rather the side benefits of long trips.
“We look at the travel as team building, team bonding more than the lacrosse itself,” said Harmon, who arranged a trip to Grand Junction to face a pair of Utah powers. “The lacrosse is great. We do get some extra practice in. It is also a very important for bonding and team-building. Those are the main goals for these small trips.”