This season will be trying for the young Skyhawks and their new coach, former Fort Lewis Lacrosse All-American Daniel Riecks, but it should be an adventure well worth it, the Sky is the limit for these Hawks. With 17 games scheduled, not including playoffs, the young Skyhawks’ new season promises to be an unprecedented challenge. Big challenges lead to big rewards; however, and the schedule offers some exciting contests.
Leading off the season is a trip down HWY-160 to scrimmage Adams State, the new NCAA Division II neighbor in Alamosa, on 2/11. Also a very young team, it will be exciting to see the two programs grow up together and develop a natural geographic rivalry. After that, the season officially gets underway in Albuquerque on 2/24-2/25 with games against traditional rival DI New Mexico and another DI test from Texas Tech.
The Skyhawks’ annual Spring Break trip to California gives the team a chance to warm up both on and off the field against UC San Diego (3/6), Cal St. Long Beach (3/8), and Cal St. Fullerton (3/10). All three opponents are coming off of strong winning seasons, so the Fort will be looking to make a statement about where they stand nationally while having some fun in the sun.
The RMLC season gets going with a highly anticipated game against Northern Colorado in Greeley on 3/24. This contest is always a physical match up as distinct styles from the Northeast and Southwest corners of the state collide, though UNC has definitely held the upper hand of late. Following that game, the Fort rolls down I-25 to play CSU-Pueblo, newly returned to the RMLC DII West division, for the first division game of the year for FLC on 3/25.
Ray Dennison Memorial Field in Durango should be all thawed out for the Skyhawks’ first home stand against the always-competitive RMLC teams from Utah State University and Regis University on 3/30 and 3/31 respectively. Then the team heads back on the road to Orem, UT for the annual contest against Utah Valley University on 4/7 that often determines which team makes the RMLC playoffs. Following that game is a scrimmage against the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, which will provide the young Skyhawks a chance to experience the speed and precision of one of the RMLC DI’s elite programs.
The Battle of the Mythical Birds (which really needs some kind of annual trophy) is in Durango this year, as the Fort Lewis Skyhawks take on the Westminster Griffins at home on Friday, April 13. The weekend stays competitive as Colorado School of Mines is in town on 4/15 and the Fort looks to avenge its playoff defeat from last season. The fans should have plenty of throat lozenges for this weekend, as it is going to be the big one.
The next weekend, the Fort has an exciting weekend in Denver scheduled, a perfect compliment to the weekend’s big showcase games in the lacrosse Mecca of the West. On 4/20 the Skyhawks play under the lights at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park against Metro State. That RMLC game will set the stage for the next day’s game against The University of Denver’s club team. While this game is officially only a scrimmage, the game will be played at lacrosse-only Peter Barton Stadium at DU, a grand venue for the program to showcase its young talent and exciting style to the Denver lacrosse community. That night, CU and CSU play at Invesco, and the Skyhawks will be in attendance to watch one of the best rivalries in lacrosse.
The regular season marathon comes to its glorious end back in Durango against natural rival Western State on 4/27. This game, the night before FLC graduation, will be Senior Night as our senior class will be honored for their many contributions to the team, hopefully they will honor themselves with a final conference victory as well.
Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference Playoffs begin on May 3rd in Grand Junction, and the Skyhawks hope to be one of the three teams from each division in attendance. A favorable showing, and a quality national ranking in the MCLA (Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association) Coaches Poll, could lead the Fort to the MCLA National Championships being held in Greenville, SC on May 15-19.
Support the Skyhawks all season long, on fortlax.wordpress.org, facebook, and twitter (@fortlax, @fortlaxcoach), and if you see a Fort Lax player around the town, give them a high five, they always appreciate that.