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Lacrosse players grow through club team and senior mentorship

Trey Bellmore and Justin Eggimann are setting a precedent of success for Canby lacrosse.


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Front row from left to right: Coach Stelling, Jordan Kahut, Justin Eggimann, Brandon Tietz, Alek Purtzer and coach Widmer. Bottom row: Chase Purtzer, Mitch Lafrati and Cole Saltmarsh.
Canby players on the Xcelerate Lacrosse team pose for a picture after winning the Battle of Bothell tournament.

Canby lacrosse leaders are looking to develop a program built for the long haul. Due to a strong club lacrosse program and traditional senior mentorship, they seem to be well on their way.

Xcelerate Lacrosse led by Oregon State lacrosse coach Chad Stilling has established a fruitful breeding ground in the Canby area. Each of the last two seasons, seven Canby players have played under Stilling including two-time second-team all Three Rivers league player and recent graduate Trey Bellmore and two-time honorable mention all-leaguer Justin Eggimann.

“I really enjoy playing for my club team. Everyone is pushing to get better. You aren’t just there to have fun and go through the motions,” Eggimann said.

Eggimann said the team has won 25 out of 27 games in the last two years and even ran the table to win the Battle at the Bothell tournament in Bothell, Wash., earlier this summer. Current Canby players on Xcelerate Lacrosse include Jordan Kahut, Mitch Lafrati, Cole Saltmarsh, Chase Purtzer, Alex Purtzer, Brandon Tietz and Eggimann.

Eggimann said coach Stilling isn’t from the Canby area and doesn’t have particularly strong ties to Canby. Instead, he simply sent out an email to former Canby coach Justin Blackmore inquiring about eager and talented players. Eggimann said club lacrosse was exactly what many players were looking for.

Bellmore said he’s improved a lot since residing under Stilling’s wing.

“He helped me with understanding the game, where to be on the field, shooting on the run and other fundamentals that you overlook,” Bellmore said.

Bellmore liked the program so much, he will follow Stilling to Corvallis next year and try out for the Oregon State lacrosse team.

“He helped me so much. It makes you drawn to go to OSU. You know you will be looked out for,” he said.

Though Bellmore isn’t guaranteed a roster spot, he likely wouldn’t miss the cut for a lack of effort.

“It always helps to know the coach but I don’t want to take that for granted. I want to be one of the hardest workers out there,” Bellmore said.

Bellmore has seen Canby lacrosse grow exponentially over the last four years. When he was a freshman, he said only about 30 players tried out for the team. This year, close to 60 showed up for tryouts.

Eggimann believes people are realizing how exciting lacrosse can be.

“It rivals baseball because it is so much more fast paced,” he said.

Once players take the leap to join the LAX crew, leaders like Bellmore, and now Eggimann, mentor and motivate newbies to fully commit to the sport.

Eggimann said Bellmore helped guide him through his freshman season more than two years ago.

“Coming in as one of the only freshmen on varsity, I was a little shell-shocked. Trey was one of my closer buddies and really helped me on and off the field,” he said.

Bellmore added: “We hung out a lot and played a lot of catch. He’s really grown since freshman year. He has a lot of potential.”

Eggimann will look to use that potential to help the Cougars try to break through the seven-win mark, which they’ve achieved the last two seasons. He also hopes to earn first-team all-league honors.

Bellmore saw in Eggimann what Eggimann sees in Tietz, a soon to be sophomore defender.

“He didn’t play a ton last year, but he’s a really good defensive player, He’s a good guy too. This summer we’ve been talking quite a bit,” he said.

In fact, Eggimann played a role in Tietz joining Xcelerate Lacrosse. “My family told him to play for Xcelerate. We called him up and he wanted to play,” Eggimann said.

Eggimann recently finished his last tournament for a while. He now has a bit of a break until the indoor lacrosse season starts in the fall. However, a break from competition doesn’t mean Eggimann will take time off.

He said: “I try to always work hard to get myself better. I want to be a real big threat in the Three Rivers League.”

With OSU tryouts looming, Bellmore doesn’t plan to slack off either.

“I want to prove to them that I deserve to be on the team,” he said.



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