It's like soccer, hockey and basketball all rolled into one. And Cody Pilot, a recent graduate from Fremont High School, can give you a few pointers on the rules of lacrosse, a little-known sport in the West, but a fiercely contested standby in the East.
Pilot was recently chosen, along with two other Utah players, to play in the U.S. Lacrosse National Senior Showcase, an elite tournament held in Rhode Island that features the best recently graduated seniors from each state.
The Utah High School Lacrosse League consists of about 1,800 players and each year it chooses just two of the best to go to the NSS tournament. Pilot was able to join Bountiful's Mike Fabrizio and Judge Memorial's Patrick Hagan at the tournament when a Colorado midfielder couldn't make it.
"They (national lacrosse board members) said that the next best kid is Cody, so Utah actually got to send three kids," said Pilot's high school coach, Tyler Deamer. "It was a stroke of luck, but he definitely earned his spot."
Each Utah high school team was allowed to choose just one player to nominate for the honor which was then voted on by the UHSLL. Deamer said he chose Pilot for his skill as well as his natural leadership on the field.
"Technically he's really a sound player. He's mastered most of the skills that you would need to complete at a collegiate level, a higher level of lacrosse," said Deamer. "He leads by example. He played every single game of the season, he didn't miss a practice. His work ethic was fantastic. He's a very fundamental, clean player. He keeps his head."
Deamer said that Pilot led the team in ground balls recovered and in goals scored and has earned team MVP for the last two years as well as been an All-Conference and All-State player in the on-your-feet, full-contact sport.
Pilot said that despite his honors playing in the national tournament was intimidating at first.
"At first I thought I was going to be out of my league because everyone there is supposed to be amazing, but once the playing started I felt at home. It was just like every other game," said Pilot.
"It was just amazing. It was a great experience. I got to play lacrosse with all different people from different states and it was just amazing to see the different skill levels and see how high-level everyone was."
Although the West division team he played on lost both of its games at the tournament Pilot said he was able to improve as a player.
"I learned that lacrosse on the East Coast is so much more fast," said Pilot. "You just have to learn to throw more accurately. I'm working on throwing more quick, more crisp and clear passes."
Pilot first became interested in the sport in the seventh grade when high school players demonstrated the fast-paced sport to his gym class.
"That Christmas my mom got me a lacrosse stick and I started playing wall ball with it all the time," said Pilot.
As soon as he was old enough he joined the Fremont team in ninth grade.
"My favorite part is probably just when we're on the defense and there's a ground ball," said Pilot. "I just love picking it up and running down the field trying to get in there and make a goal."
Pilot said he hopes to continue playing lacrosse at the University of Utah while he pursues his degree.