Two were elite goal scorers and playmakers, while the third was the player who helped shutdown goal scorers and playmakers. Regardless of what they did on the field though, or what color trophy their team lifted at the end of the season, the Deseret News boys lacrosse Players of the Year were the best of the best in their classification.
Here’s a closer look at the 2022 Deseret News boys lacrosse Players of the Year.
6A Player of the Year
Jon King, Corner Canyon, Attack, Sr.
Corner Canyon senior Jon King finished second in the state in scoring this year with 92 goals, but what’s frightening is the Penn State commit played the entire season with an injury.
That didn’t stop him from another lights-out season in leading Corner Canyon to another state championship.
The final tally, 92 goals, 32 assists and 32 ground balls.
“Jon is that guy that is just aggressive from the moment he steps on the field. He’s a quiet kid who likes to keep to himself, but the moment he hits that field he’s all business,” said Corner Canyon coach Aaron Ika. “He did it in many multitudes of ways, not just dodging and scoring, but playing well off the ball.”
A year ago King led the nation in goal scoring with 112 goals, but wasn’t able to use his athleticism nearly as much early this season because of his limitations. It didn’t really slow his effectiveness though.
“He started the year on the crease only because he was injured and then as the year progressed and he was able to do a little more he got further and further away from the cage,” said Ika, who said King’s gritty mentality in the attack makes him an extremely difficult player to stop for opposing defenses.
5A Player of the Year
Hutton Murphy, Olympus, attack, Sr.
Hutton Murphy’s ability to create for himself but also get his teammates involved was second to no one in the state this year.
The Olympus senior tallied 79 goals and 71 assists this year, with his 150 total points leading the state and ranking third nationally. As a four-year varsity starter for the Titans, that excellence is something he’s grown in through the years Hutton also recorded 44 ground balls this season.
“He is a player that embodies everything it means to be an Olympus Titan lacrosse player. Hutt is extremely smart, humble, skilled, gritty, hardworking, accountable and family oriented,” said Olympus coach Nick Merrell.
As a junior he recorded 53 goals and 47 assists but he made a huge jump in both of those categories this season.
“He coupled one of the fastest and most accurate shots with elite field vision making his teammates better. He has set a new standard of excellence within our program that will inspire Olympus lacrosse players for years to come,” said Merrell.
Olympus’ only loss of the season was a heartbreaking 10-9 result in the championship against Park City, but Murphy still had another fantastic game in the loss with four goals and one assist.
4A Player of the Year
Weston Christensen, Green Canyon, defense, Jr.
Green Canyon featured one of the stingiest defenses in 4A this season, and Weston Christensen was the backbone of that defense as he led the Wolves to the state championship.
“Weston is our on-field leader, as well as our example student athlete and team member,” said Green Canyon coach Troy Oldham. “He is very dependable and his stick stills are solid, he rarely misses a ground ball or pass. He is an instrumental player in our man-up scheme as a long-pole.”
His ground ball skills were on display in overtime of the 4A state championship game against Sky View. Less than a minute into overtime, his one-hop ground ball and then coast-to-coast run toward goal produced the winning goal — his only goal of the playoffs — as Green Canyon avenged two region losses to Sky View with the win in the championship.
He finished the season with nine goals, 73 ground balls and 26 caused turnovers.
“Weston is the cornerstone of our defense,” said Oldham. “Weston’s ability to transition to an offensive threat has been key to our team’s 85% clear rate, and his dodging skills for a defensive player are near perfect. Very rarely does Weston not complete a clear that he is involved in running the ball through the half.”