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West Jordan Journal

Larsen staying positive amid challenging season

May 06, 2024 01:09PM ● By Josh McFadden

Gavin Larsen (No. 30 in the dark jersey) battles for the ball in a game earlier this season for the Copper Hills boys lacrosse team. (Photo courtesy of Shawn Lovell.)

Even when a team is struggling, it can still find positives, and it can still have standout players and leaders. 

Just look at the Copper Hills boys lacrosse team. 

It has been a tough season for the Grizzlies. As of April 25, the Grizzlies had yet to taste victory in its 11 games. Copper Hills was 0-7 in Region 2 play. Several of the games have been one-sided, though the Grizzlies did have a couple of close calls in its first 11 matches. Copper Hills lost to Mountain Ridge 12-8 on April 11 and also fell to Lehi 8-4 on March 14 and 8-6 to West Jordan in the season-opener March 7. 

Grizzly players might be frustrating, but they’re not throwing in the towel or giving up hope. 

Team leader Gavin Larsen, a senior, is doing his best to keep spirits up and set the example on and off the field. Larsen had two goals, seven ground balls and five caused turnovers through the first 11 contests. Even though his team hasn’t had the season it wanted, Larsen is happy to be a Grizzly. He said the team enjoys good unity and friendships. The players even get together for activities off the field. 

“The best things about being a part of the Copper Hills team is the unbreakable friendships I have made and also team dinners after games,” he said. 

Larsen started playing lacrosse eight years ago. A cousin and uncle got him interested, and he has loved the sport ever since. For Larsen, lacrosse offered a distraction from life’s demands. It has been a stress reliever, a venue for him to leave troubles behind for a few hours.

“The thing I enjoy most about lacrosse is being able to go out and play this beautiful sport, which allows me to forget about all of my problems and clear my head,” he said. 

In his eight years, Larsen has evolved as a player. He has gained valuable skills and experience, which have come in handy for Copper Hills as it battled adversity. Larsen said his biggest asset to the team is keeping a level head and being optimistic, even when things look bleak. He gets along well with others on the team—so much that players feel comfortable coming to him to share their concerns and talk to. 

“Some of my strengths as a player is being a positive leader for the team and being someone that my teammates can talk to when they need someone to go to,” he said. 

Larsen believes he can learn life lessons from playing lacrosse, including enduring difficult experiences such as losses and setbacks. As his senior season comes to a close, he hopes to be more confident in his play. Developing this mindset can help out later in life, he said. 

“One thing I am hoping to improve on is my confidence in game,” he said. “This could really benefit me and my skills not only in lacrosse but also outside of it.”

Even in a season where the team’s record doesn’t reflect the success the Grizzlies had wanted, Larsen said there are things the program can build on. His biggest aspiration this season is to prepare the younger players to grow the program and improve it. He is also trying to establish a better culture on the team and build relations with others in the school. 

“My goal this season is to leave an example for my teammates and for future players so that we can build up the Copper Hills lacrosse program,” he said. “Some things I am doing in order to accomplish this goal is volunteering the lacrosse team for as many school activities as possible. Some activities we have helped with this year include cleaning the Copper Hills stadium, walking in the homecoming parade, doing odd jobs—which is essentially going around different neighborhoods asking people if there are any chores we can do in exchange for donations to paws for a cause. This allows our school to help out with buying Christmas presents for the less fortunate in our area and helping out with anything else they need. We have also helped out with decorating hallways at our school and helping at the special ed carnival.”

Last season, Copper Hills finished 4-12 overall and 2-3 in league play. The team was 8-10 in Larsen’s sophomore year. 

Copper Hills closed Region 2 action May 2 with a home game with Corner Canyon. The final regular season game is May 9 against Pleasant Grove in a non-region home matchup. Larsen will call it a high school career once the season wraps up. He has many fond memories of playing at Copper Hills and has loved playing alongside some amazing teammates. Through some ups and downs, Larsen has learned a lot as a Grizzly lacrosse player. He credits various people for what he has learned and experienced. 

“Some of my biggest mentors are my dad, Bryan Larsen; my little brother Zayne Larsen; and my girlfriend’s brother Braden Dean,” he said. “They are all constantly pushing me to be the best version of myself possible and are positive role models for me to look up to.”

Once the school year ends, Larsen will prepare for the next phase of life. He has already accepted a volunteer assignment to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rancagua, Chile. When he returns home in two years, he wants to pursue a career in speech pathology or work as a teacher for students with severe disabilities.    λ