Skip to main content

Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton boys lacrosse begins season at a record pace

Apr 08, 2024 01:15PM ● By Jerry Christensen

Brighton boys lacrosse varsity in 2024. (Photo All Star Photography)

Brighton High’s boy lacrosse is back at the top of the highly competitive Utah lacrosse world. The No. 1 ranked Bengal boys lacrosse team is guided by head coach Chris O'Donnell whose lacrosse path includes playing for Radford University in Virginia. Following his college years, O’Donnell transitioned into coaching, starting his career at Freedom South Riding in Chantilly, Virginia. In 2018, he made the move to Utah and served as an assistant coach at Brighton for two years before being promoted to head coach in 2020.

The Bengal varsity team is senior heavy—14 seniors, one of which (Grayson Harris) has been a varsity starter since he was a freshman. Most seniors have played together since fourth grade. They won the youth state championship title together in sixth grade (2016). All told, 75 boys are rostered in the burgeoning Brighton lacrosse program filling three teams: varsity, JV-A and JV-B. 

Five of these seniors (Harris, Mason Fray, Donnie Wismer, JT Anderson, Ethan Salmon) are listed on the prestigious Pre-Season All-American watch list.  One promising junior, Austin Taylor, is also on the All-American watch list. Taylor currently leads all Utah players in assists.

Three sets of brothers are on the varsity team this year. The last time brothers played together on the Bengal team was back in 2021 when Walker Harris, a senior, and Grayson Harris, a freshman, were on the team together. The brother duos are JT and Zach Anderson; Tate and Nash Hales; and Murray and Cole Mitchell. 

The team traveled preseason to Huntington Beach for the Surf City Winter Classic tournament. “The team came out strong and played into the finals,” said Natalie Harris, who has been a Brighton lacrosse team booster for 10 years.

The Utah lacrosse season started March 8 with two games in Logan against 6A teams Ridgeline and Sky View. Often these early games required the teams to shovel snow off the field to be able to play. The competition became more fierce with two more 6A foes at Box Elder and Northridge. Having proven themselves against all rivals, the big test came at No. 4 ranked Fremont where Brighton battled out a 7-5 win on March 19. 

Coach O’Donnell designated sophomore attacker Gabe Carrera as the MVP in the Brighton versus Box Elder game March 12. “Carrera had an outstanding performance, scoring seven goals and providing the team with two assists,” O’Donnell said. In the Brighton versus Northridge game on March 14, Mason Fray stood out as the MVP, showcasing remarkable goalkeeping skills with 13 saves and preventing Northridge's comeback attempts.

In the Fremont showdown, junior Mason Sauer was the standout player of the game, showcasing exceptional skills with four ground balls. Following this, Brighton hosted Bountiful on their home turf on March 22, securing a decisive win with a score of 14-3.

The season is still young with more opportunities to prove their No. 1 ranking against longtime lacrosse powerhouses Corner Canyon and Park City. The Region 6 rival Olympus will also have something to prove against Brighton as well. 

For now, Brighton boys lacrosse is enjoying the view from the top of the Utah lacrosse ladder. λ