There will always be a special connection between the Sand Storm Lacrosse Festival and Team 180. That’s because both the Synapse Sports event and Denver-based club program have enjoyed a similar trajectory. “We’ve been going to Sand Storm since its inception, and as the tournament has grown, so has our organization,” said Sam Bartron, who founded Team 180 in 2004. “The first year, we only had one team and there were about two dozen teams total. This year, we brought five teams and now there are well over 100 girls teams alone.” Team 180 enjoyed tremendous success at the sixth annual Sand Storm, placing four of the teams it brought in the finals and coming away with three championships.
“I’m so very, very proud of what our girls accomplished. It was so amazing to look around on championship day and see all those yellow jerseys. We had 130 kids out there in yellow like little bees buzzing around,” Bartron said.
Bartron said the key to the overall improvement of the Team 180 organization has been commitment. Coaches front-loaded each team’s training to prepare for Sand Storm, which was held Jan. 19-20 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Cal. It also helps that Bartron and staff are now working with players at a much younger age, instilling the skills and team playing style necessary to succeed at a high level. “We want to be the best club in the west, and that takes hard work. We have asked our kids to go above and beyond. Our players and parents have embraced this philosophy and are willing to do whatever it takes,” she said.