Gig Harbor and Peninsula lacrosse players teamed up to compete in the Battle of Bothell tournament in late June.
The hybrid team, coached by Gig Harbor head coach Marc Kemp and Peninsula assistant Rusty Wilder, gave the team the nickname of the “Rusty Nails” and finished in first place of the silver bracket, compiling a 5-2 overall record for the three-day tournament. Kemp liked what he saw.
“I was actually really impressed,” Kemp said. “First of all, it was just really cool to have the Gig Harbor and Peninsula guys practicing together and coming together to cooperate. We had coaches from both programs and it just continues to add to that camaraderie and yet the competitiveness we have when we play each other. … Overall, I thought the guys played really well.”
Temperatures were hovering above 90 degrees, and on the turf field, temps felt more like 110 degrees, according to Kemp.
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“I had cramps just from walking and these guys were playing games,” Kemp said. “I was just blown away by how tough they were.”
Peninsula senior Luca Mira had a solid tournament as goalkeeper. Mira will likely be slipping into the starting role for the Peninsula squad next spring. As a goalie, the hot temperatures weren’t a huge issue for him, as he didn’t have to move around much. Mira said he enjoyed playing with some of Gig Harbor High School’s players.
“It was sweet,” Mira said. “I haven’t played a whole lot of lacrosse, and haven’t played with some of them. They all played (on Gig Harbor) Fire together. It was just awesome to get together and compete together.”
Mira, who split time with Gig Harbor sophomore goalkeeper Ben Brownfield, said the tournament helped him gain some confidence in a more prominent role.
“I think it helped me a lot,” he said. “I’ve been playing at JV for a while now. Playing with some of the elite teams in the state, it was a huge step going into next season as the starting goalie. It opened my eyes to the level I’ll be playing at next year.”
Mira will continue working on his game, heading to a camp at the University of Washington in a couple weeks.
Overall, Kemp said it was a productive tournament for players from both programs.
“I think the guys we expected to stand out stood out,” Kemp said. “It was really an exceptional overall team effort. Some guys that were expected to play roles played their roles great.”