Grafton Youth Lacrosse players selected for Mass Bay Colonials

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Grafton Youth Lacrosse players selected for Mass Bay Colonials
Hunter Laverdiere and Beckett Heidenthal have been selected to represent Massachusetts at Best of Texas Lacrosse. (Courtesy Photo)

GRAFTON – Hunter Laverdiere and Beckett Heidenthal of Grafton were selected to the Mass Bay Colonials boys lacrosse team that traveled to Houston on Dec. 10-11 to compete in the Best of Texas Lacrosse Tournament.

Heidenthal and Laverdiere are two players of 22 selected from more than 200 athletes from 125 town lacrosse programs from central and eastern Massachusetts.

“The Mass Bay Colonials is an extension of our community-based youth league, Mass Youth Lacrosse, and was founded to promote and celebrate town-based lacrosse and the elite athletes who commit to their communities each spring,” said Joey Picard, Colonials founder and general manager.

Laverdiere is a fifth-year player with the Grafton Youth Lacrosse Program. He plays midfield and is currently in seventh grade at Grafton Middle School. He’s a multisport athlete who also plays football and basketball.

Heidenthal is a sixth-year player with the Grafton Youth Lacrosse Program. He plays defense and is currently in eighth grade at Grafton Middle School. He’s also a multisport athlete playing basketball and running cross country.

The program has been continuously growing in numbers both boys and girls, and it is known throughout Central Massachusetts for having an immense respect for the game, creating a place to learn while also producing great competition and strong athletes. 

In addition to performance at the tryouts, players submitted recommendations from coaches, teachers and community leaders to earn a spot from the selection committee.

This year marks the third iteration of the Mass Bay Colonials, but the first time with both a boys and girls team, as Massachusetts Youth Lacrosse added a girls league to the organization in 2022. The Mass Bay Colonials will send a boys team (Class of 2027) and a girls team (Class of 2027/2028) to Houston to compete against teams from Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and others from across the Southwest.

The boys team will be led by head coach Nathan Kittler – the head coach at Natick High School who was named the 2022 Eastern Massachusetts Lacrosse Coaches Association coach of the year. Kittler will be assisted by Ed McCarthy, a longtime youth and high school coach who has been a Massachusetts Youth Lacrosse coach education trainer for the past five years. 

Rounding out the coaching staff is Tom Spangenberg, the current chair of Massachusetts Youth Lacrosse Board of Directors, former president of the board, and longtime youth coach with Dover-Sherborn Youth Lacrosse.

“As a league, we focus on many important facets of the game designed to grow lacrosse and honor its sacred traditions, and the Colonials is one such example of how we’re uniting our towns, prioritizing teaching the skills in a fun environment, and promoting the importance of character, community and camaraderie. We’re thrilled to bring the finest athletes and coaches from our small community to a much larger one in Texas this winter,” said Spangenberg.

The Massachusetts Youth Lacrosse, a nonprofit 501 (c)3 organization, was founded in 1992 by a group of town youth lacrosse programs that had the common goal to promote the growth of the game of lacrosse throughout Massachusetts by providing leadership, guidance, training and structure to anyone interested in lacrosse.

More than 110 town programs participate in MYL with more than 1,000 teams and 14,000 players participating in an eight-week spring season, followed by the largest youth lacrosse jamboree in the country over two weekends in Devens. 

In the spring of 2022, a new girls league launched with 21 town programs and 2,000 girls players. More than 70 girls programs will be participating in 2023. 

For more information, visit www.massyouthlax.org.

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