Team culture powers three-peat for Bear River girls lacrosse | Sports

GARLAND – Championships are quite often rare for teams to pull off, with years and sometimes decades spanning occasions on which their players can lift the coveted trophy.

Bear River is making titles commonplace with its girls lacrosse team.

For three straight years, the Bears have concluded their season by raising the 4A state title trophy and bringing it home to Garland. Facilitating the back-to-back-to-back championship runs has been a 56-1 overall record, included inside that are undefeated marks against 4A (43-0) and Region 11 (30-0) teams.

Bear River Girls Lacrosse team records since 2022



Goals For

Goals Against

2022 19-0 322 67
2023 17-1 324 57
2024 20-0 347 78
TOTAL 56-1 993 202

All of this success over three years has come despite losing significant portions of their roster each season. Following the first championship season, the Bears lost half a dozen players. After securing a repeat title, nine were lost to graduation. These losses represented many of the top scorers and goalkeepers on those title-winning squads. But it seems even in “rebuilding” years, Bear River still finds a way.

“I had a done an interview earlier in the season when they were saying we were going to take our lumps this year. And I said ‘I don’t know about that.'” Webb recalled during an interview on the Full Court Press with Eric Frandsen and Jason Walker. “And I said that because, the secret to success in any sport I’ve ever been a part of hasn’t always necessarily been one or two players. It’s always been the whole group [who] will dictate whether or not we have success.”

Eric Frandsen and Jason Walker are joined by the head coach of Bear River girls lacrosse, Jeremy Webb. The Bears have won three straight 4A state titles and Webb discusses how he and the girls at Bear River have managed to create such a powerhouse of the sport.

Webb says that while it’s incredibly cliche and some may think he’s just using coach speak, everything starts with team culture. In preseason meetings with parents and players, the expectations are laid bare.

“At parent night, this is literally what I say. ‘These are the things we expect (the girls) to do. Parents, now these are the things you get to do. And if you can’t do that then maybe lacrosse isn’t for you,'” Webb said. “And it’s kind of funny because when parents come in for the first time into our program they’re looking around like ‘Did he just say that?'”

Despite the odd looks one may get for trying to boss the parents of student athletes around, the results speak for themselves. And Webb didn’t seem to have any issues with buying in to report.

“Once you set up your expectations, they meet them,” Webb said. “And as a whole our group plays harder for one another than I’ve seen a lot of other sports I’ve been a part of because they all buy into the process.”

This year’s team wound up having some differences, partially due to the continuous rotation of new players in, but also in part to the style of offense the up-and-coming girls would be most fit to play. Webb, a self-admitted defensive specialist, had to consider changes to maximize the potential of his team.

“Our offense was going to look different, I knew that coming in (to this season),” Webb said. “My focus was to find the way that they play and let’s just build upon that and I think that was the big key to the success.”

That new offense didn’t skip a beat as the 347 goals scored set a new program record (though the goals per game of 17.4 does still sits second to last year’s 18.0). Shelby Wilkinson and Makenzie Mickelsen led the way on offense, Wilkinson leading the team and the entire state including all other classifications with 142 points (85 goals, 57 assists). Mickelsen led all players in all classifications in total goals scored at 114 (she also ranked second state-wide in points just behind Wilkinson with 137). In 4A specifically, Jasey Larkin ranked 11th in points Lauren Smith was 16th with Sydney Cummins at 18th.

What lies ahead for Bear River is a story that only 2025 can tell. The Bears will once again lose more than half a dozen seniors, including five of the top seven leaders in points. Will that force open the door for someone to break the stranglehold on the 4A state title? The rest of the Beehive State can only hope so, because the Bears aren’t going to leave the opening there by choice.

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