Utah Tech men’s lacrosse steps up to elevated level of competition in Division I

Utah Tech’s lacrosse team is hard at practice at 7:00 a.m. on the Encampment Mall field. The 88 players are growing to be a strong and successful team. Cora Mark | Sun News Daily

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Look out because the Utah Tech University men’s lacrosse club team is young, talented and ready to prove to everyone on the collegiate level that they are ready for Division l.

Last year, the men’s lacrosse team was trying to make a name for themselves in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference Division II Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association. The Trailblazers finished the 2022-2023 season with a 6-6 record.

A big interest of the club is making the transition from Division ll to Division l play. For now, the team has been diligently building and growing on top of the foundation they created last year.

Assistant coach Casey Rich said they have a couple of returning players who have been working hard during the off-season and are looking really good. They want to put the best guys out on the field in order to help make that transition to Division l.

“It’s got a lot to do with the discipline of the guys,” Rich said. “You know at that level, the mistake margin is much smaller. You know it’s the type of kids, do they want to go all in.”

Building and expanding the team is one of the ways the club has been working toward the transition to Division l. During the summer, the club brought in Rich to be an assistant coach. They also held tryouts that brought in plenty of young and new talents to the team.

Steele Cooper, a sophomore exercise science major from Lehi, is a returning player who plays the attack position. Cooper said the team has improved from last season and he can see the difference in the team. 

“We got a lot of depth,” Cooper said. “Last year there wasn’t a lot of offensive help, like behind me and a couple of midfielders. So we got a lot of depth this year. A lot of new freshmen coming in, so once we lock in the IQ standpoint, I think it will be locked in.”

With being a Division ll club sport on campus, the men’s lacrosse team has had to deal with some struggles and complications.

President Josh Gilbert, a sophomore software engineering major from Holladay, said the biggest challenge is getting the school to cooperate by giving them the resources the team needs.

“Since we are a club, it can be kind of tough to get field time,” Gilbert said. “I think that’s kind of one of the hardest things is, you know, there are a lot of other sports that have priority over us.”

The men’s lacrosse club does its best to be there and support the university along with the community. The team is showing up to campus events, attending other Utah Tech sporting events, and going out on the town as a team.

The Utah Tech men’s lacrosse club will face off against the University of California, Los Angeles, to start their 2023-2024 season. The game will be played in Los Angeles Feb. 15, 2024, at 7 p.m.