By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

A Mustang to A Pio

Aaron Boyd has played other sports, yes. But none of them, in his opinion, measure up to lacrosse in any way, shape or form.  For him, it’s lacrosse first, last and forever.

“I think I like the speed of the game, you’ve got to be fast, play fast and play hard,” the recently graduated Mullen senior said. “It’s a whole different game than other sports. Growing up, I loved sports and always played baseball and stuff, but it was too slow. In lacrosse, you read and react. It’s at a good pace and it keeps you going.”  It also will keep him going to college. Boyd, a native Coloradan, will play at the University of Denver. The Pioneers will take on Maryland on Saturday in the national semifinals and they already have former Mustangs Nick Phillips and Mikey Pryor.

Call it a Mullen connection. Mustangs head coach Kevin O’Brien also played at DU, as did assistant coach Clark Woodard.  An offensive middie, Boyd has earned his chance, O’Brien said, through hard work.  “He’s skilled and was one of our leaders,” O’Brien said.

All three, O’Brien added, “have a reason they’re going there and it’s because of what they do day in, day out. They’re out there shooting before and after practice.”  Plus, O’Brien said, “their grades are great.”  He also coaches a seventh-grade team and those players would frequently ask who that guy was who was always the last one on the field. It was Boyd.

And Boyd had a plan.  “I first started playing in eighth grade and I always wanted to go to DU,” he said.

A starter for the Mustangs since late in his freshman year, Boyd had relatively modest numbers the past season with 26 goals and 11 assists. However, opposing teams knew what they had to do to stop the Mustangs, who ended 5-10, and that was to defend Boyd, so he frequently found himself in traffic late in late afternoon in Denver.

Plus, Mullen’s schedule was as good as any other team’s. It took on the likes of regular Colorado heavyweights Kent Denver, Regis Jesuit, Arapahoe, Cherry Creek, Columbine and a few out-of-staters.  It bodes well for Mullen moving forward. It lost only eight seniors and was junior-dominated. Plus, the caliber of play should only make the Mustangs better.

“Mullen has never won a state championship, but always been a top-level program,” O’Brien said. “This year, we were 5-10, but we were one of the only schools to play all of those top programs. When you play a tough schedule, I think that’s a draw. And it has been tough (with previous coaching changes) … we want to get back to where Mullen was in the 2000s and keep the coaching staff around.”

It helps developing players such as Boyd, who bought into the program and school, including with a 3.8 grade-point average.  And the next step? Phillips is seeing some minutes with the Pioneers and Pryor has played even less. It’s part of advancing in the game. Boyd says he’ll be patient.

“(DU team officials) told me I would never play (defense) and can look forward to offense,” Boyd said. “I’ll just do the best I can, try to get playing time my freshman year, but if not … so there could be some possibilities.  “I’m going to work hard and give my best.”

 

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