The journey for Bozeman lacrosse to accomplish three consecutive state championships

Bozeman Lacrosse 2023 state champions
Posted at 5:26 PM, May 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-23 14:46:14-04

BOZEMAN — Bozeman Lacrosse had to make even more in their trophy case over the weekend by taking home yet another state title.

“We’re always favored as the number one, but every year there’s expectations to do it again, and we work really hard to ensure the trophy is always coming back home to Bozeman," junior goalie Austin Baller said. "So, there’s a lot of a work put into it, and this team did a great job staying focused even though we’ve won some in the past.”

That work ethic is second nature, and the constant commitment to the game is what sets them apart.

“We just work hard," junior face-off specialist Pi Taylor said. "We’re a team that’s been playing together for a long time. I’ve been playing together with some of these boys since third grade. So, it’s just that brotherhood right there, there’s nothing else like it.”

Their hard work combined with the mindset of knowing nobody is going to take away what’s theirs has led them to this exact moment.

“It started off with kind of the swagger they have, I mean, that they’ve earned over six years, now," head coach Dan Springer said. "So they knew they came out here and were confident and that made a big difference.”

Atop of their skill, they truly enjoying taking the field with each other every day. They’ve become a family, something that can’t be coached.

“It’s crazy, I mean I grew up with a lot of these boys," senior mid Jasper Skidmore said. "I started playing before I could even remember, so winning with these boys for the third time in a row brings a tear to my eye for sure.”

This is Bozeman’s third straight championship since the state tournament came back in 2021 after it being canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19. Frankly, this team knows the moment and the expectations, but they don’t let it get in the way of winning. Every. Single. Year.

“I think the hardest thing is staying hungry," Baller said. "A lot of these guys, this is their second, third championship in a row, and it’s hard to show up and stay hungry every day, but this team did a really good job of staying focused the whole season and knowing that this is the end goal if we put in that work.”

For Springer, this team in particular has been one of those he’ll never forget. When recounting what each one of the seniors means to him, he couldn’t help but smile.

“It’s a special year because of the age and the kids that I’ve been with for a long time," he said. "These kids have really continued a great Bozeman program and really building a culture.”

He’s molded a team that has each other’s back — on and off the field, win or loss. And they wouldn’t want to go through the journey with anyone else.

“Everything goes this way or that, and lacrosse, the boys, they’re always there for me they got my back, whether I’m having a terrible day or a good day they’re always there to calm me down," Skidmore said.

“It’s everything; I love these boys so much," Taylor said. "It’s like a second family for me. I don’t have any real brothers, but they’re like my brothers.”

Of note, this is the team's sixth state championship. This accomplishment set a new record in Montana for consecutive titles.