Brad Cochi / BoCoPreps.com
LAFAYETTE — What do you get the man who has everything?
In this scenario, that man is Dawson School’s Gavyn Pure. By the end of the season, the senior will hold nearly every record a high school lacrosse player in Colorado can own. Without capturing the state championship Pure and the Mustangs have been chasing for several seasons, however, what is shaping up to be a special spring will not have been the triumph the Mustangs have hoped it would be.
Especially given that the Mustangs have come within a few goals of a state title in each of the past two seasons, Pure would trade in every record he has if it meant graduating from Dawson having led his team to a state championship.
“Forget about the points, forget about the goals, forget about the assists,” Pure said. “That’s not on my mind. The entire team has one goal and that’s to win a state championship. It’s all I think about. In order for me to really feel accomplished with what I’ve done here in the four years I’ve been playing at Dawson, I need to help my team win a state championship.”
Already the state’s all-time leader in total career points, Pure had three goals and an assist on Tuesday that brought his total to 400 points in his career. That makes him the first prep lacrosse player in Colorado history to reach 400 career points and further widened the gap between Pure and Monarch graduate Chad Kreuzer, who finished his brilliant career with 333 points.
The Mustangs (10-1, 4-0 Pikes Peak) have four regular-season games left before what appears to be an inevitable postseason run. Pure currently has 37 goals and 29 assists on the season. He needs nine goals to tie Colorado’s all-time record for goals, which was set at 226 by Rock Canyon’s Wilkins Dismuke from 2010-13. Pure also needs four assists to tie the state record for career assists, held by Monarch’s Michael Christman who had 188 from 2005-07.
To Pure, achieving those impressive numbers would simply be a means to an end. Pure believes he and his teammates are all on the same page, as well.
“We’re all motivated with one goal,” Pure said. “We’re in the regular season right now and this is getting us ready for the postseason. Everybody comes to practice and to games with one goal in mind and that’s to get better and face adversity. I think we’re learning to grind out wins and embrace adversity and our whole team has rallied around that. We’re more motivated than we’ve ever been to be as prepared as we possibly can be for the playoffs, when every game is a grind.”
The Mustangs’ burning desire for a state title is fueled by having come so close twice before. In 2017, they lost 10-9 to Valor Christian in the 4A state championship game. Last season, they lost 20-12, again to Valor Christian.
Having recently returned to the No. 1 spot in the CHSAANow.com rankings after defeating then-No. 1 Thompson Valley last Thursday, the Mustangs won 10-9 over No. 5 Valor Christian on Tuesday in a rivalry series that has seen three of its last five games decided by one goal. They will play Windsor on Thursday with a chance to lock up their fourth straight conference title.
“What we’ve done over the past three years, it’s just been building,” Mustangs senior Jack Shams said. “My freshman year, we lost by one in the semifinals and before that we didn’t know how legit of a team we could be. The next year we made it to the state championship and we got back there last year so we’ve just been refining what we need to do to win.
“We feel really comfortable. Guys have come and gone but we’ve kept a strong core together and we’ve kept our coaches together so that chemistry has been growing for four years. We’ve been building that focus for four years and we’re seeing the fruits of it now. All of our guys are stepping up and doing things that need to get done even if they’re not comfortable with it and now we know what we need to do to win state.”
The Mustangs’ only loss this season was against a Mountain Vista team that is currently ranked No. 6 in 5A and they’ve won their last three games by one goal. The difficulty of their schedule has been by design, with head coach Peter Devlin hoping that the Mustangs having to play their way through a brutal gauntlet of a regular season will better prepare them for any challenges that might stand between them and a state championship once the postseason begins.
“We’ve played a really tough schedule and we’ve won a lot of close games,” Devlin said. “Our last two games were 10-9 and two were buzzer-beaters, so that’s aging me very quickly. But seriously, one of the goal in making the schedule this year was to be battle tested going into the playoffs. We’ve more than achieved that goal. It’s been awesome but it’s also been a grind because there are no gimmes. But we’re learning from every game and that’s important for us to achieve our bigger goal.”
The 2018 regular season ends on May 5. After that, the Mustangs will embark on the second and most critical phase of what has been an incredible four-year run with this particular core of players.
Brad Cochi: email@example.com or twitter.com/BradCochi