Ralston Valley boys lacrosse program growing

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LAKEWOOD — Facing one of the best lacrosse teams in the state is a challenge for any program. But for Ralston Valley’s first-year program, it was also an excellent learning opportunity.

The Lobos, No. 5 in last week’s CHSAANow.com Class 4A boys lacrosse poll, showed off their offensive skill March 24 at Trailblazer Stadium scoring a season-high 16 goals in the non-league victory over 5A’s Ralston Valley. The 16-5 win ended a 3-game losing streak for Conifer, a 4A state quarterfinalist last season.

“Our last three games were definitely really rough for us. We couldn’t get click-ing,” Conifer senior Mason Meyer said. “Today was a game where we could put everything together and play well.”

Ralston Valley (1-4, 0-1 in 5A Front Range League) is in its first year with a varsity program. The Mustangs have a very young team with just one senior. Ralston Valley grabbed its first victory in the program’s history earlier last week with a 5-3 win over Denver South.

“It’s an eye-opener to these young guys,” said Ralston Valley coach Jason McNelis, who started the program last season coaching the Mustangs’ junior varsity squad. “Last year we had one loss at JV. Varsity level is a big step.”

Ralston Valley got goals a pair of goals from junior Jonas Escobar in the loss Fri-day in the loss. Ben Takata, Cameron McNelis and Lido Albiani also scored for the Mustangs.

Historically, the Arvada area has produced some good talent that has played for powerhouse Wheat Ridge over the years. Ralston Valley is the first boys lacrosse program in Arvada. McNelis said he has about 65 players in the program right now.

“Really having them believe in themselves and have the faith they are going to grow,” McNelis said of his goals this season. “In two or three years this is going to be a phenomenal team.”

The Mustangs return from spring break to face 4A’s No. 4 Golden on April 5, at NAAC.

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