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4A lacrosse championship: Bear River beats Payson for state title 3-peat

By JUSTIN B. JOHNSON - Standard-Examiner | May 23, 2024
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Bear River girls lacrosse players and coaches pose with the 4A state championship trophy Thursday, May 23, 2024, at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman.
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HERRIMAN — No. 1 Bear River girls lacrosse capped an undefeated season with a 12-9 win Thursday evening over No. 2 Payson at Zions Bank Stadium to claim the program’s third consecutive 4A state championship.

Shelby Wilkerson led all scorers with five goals for Bear River (20-0). Jasey Larkin netted four goals and Makenzie Mickelsen scored three.

“I love my teammates. It’s honestly so surreal. It’s been a community effort with our coaches and the fans supporting us and our teammates,” Wilkerson said. “I’m just so grateful. The sisterhood we have on this team is unlike any other team I’ve been a part of before.”

Mickelsen led the state with 114 goals this season, which is also the fifth-most goals in one season since the UHSAA sanctioned lacrosse.

“Honestly, it doesn’t feel real. I owe it to my teammates. Without them I couldn’t do any of this,” Mickelsen said. “It happens with teamwork. I give all the credit to them, because they deserve it.”

Payson (18-2) took a quick 2-0 lead to start the game. Wilkerson sandwiched another Lions goal with two of her scores, then Larkin scored three straight, the second of which gave the Bears the lead for good. BR led 5-4 after one quarter.

The Bears ballooned that lead to 8-5 at the half thanks to one goal each from Wilkerson, Larkin and Mickelsen. Payson trimmed the lead to 9-7 after three quarters.

Bear River scored three straight in the final frame, then held off a Payson comeback bid that saw the Lions greatly increase their pressure and score goals at the 2:30 and 1:51 marks of the fourth quarter for the final tally.

Bear River, which has never lost a 4A playoff game, has posted a record of 56-1 in the three championship seasons, with the only loss coming to 6A Corner Canyon last year. Head coach Jeremy Webb is 71-3 since starting the program in 2021.

“This was our goal coming in,” Webb said. “This is awesome. It’s incredibly hard to win a three-peat. It’s about building a sisterhood. We’ve got a very small school and we have to share athletes with everyone. I know when the girls show up, they’re going to love the experience they get from our program.”


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