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South Valley Riverton Journal

Through ups and downs, Russell, Rengers leading Riverton boys lacrosse

May 07, 2024 12:11PM ● By Josh McFadden

Riverton’s Jaxen Rengers has been a solid defender for the Silverwolves’ boys lacrosse team this season in leading the team against tough Region 2 competition. (Photo courtesy of Todd Russell.)

Riverton competes in a tough region for sports, and boys lacrosse is no exception. 

The Silverwolves are holding their own against the likes of Bingham, Corner Canyon and Herriman. Heading into May, Riverton was 4-4 in league play, tied with Herriman for third place. The Silverwoves were also 5-7 overall. 

The season has been a mixed back, but players such as Kyson Russell and Jaxen Rengers have been steady performers and leaders. 

Head coach Todd Russell has enjoyed coaching Rengers and witnessing his growth. 

“Over the years, coaching [Rengers] has been an absolute pleasure,” Todd Russell said. “His tenacity on defense is unmatched, making him a force to be reckoned with on the field. Not only does he deliver bone-crushing hits, but his understanding of the game is exceptional, showcasing his impressive lacrosse IQ. Witnessing his growth and evolution as a player has been truly rewarding.” 

The Riverton coach has had the unique and gratifying experience of coaching his son Kyson. 

“Coaching Kyson, my son, since kindergarten has been an incredible journey, and watching him practice hard and grow into a top scorer with fearlessness on the field has been nothing short of amazing,” he said. “His passion for the sport is evident in every game, and I’m proud to see the leadership qualities he’s developed along the way.”

Rengers a senior defensive player, has had a good year for Riverton. He said he has good shooting ability, even far from the net. He also understands the game well and provides good leadership for the team. 

“Some of my strengths that I have are my ability to shoot the balls from mostly anywhere in the field, and my lacrosse IQ,” Rengers said. “With all of the field time and practice time, I have acquired lots of knowledge about the sport. For the team, I lead by example and help run the offense and guide the team to score.”

Rengers has played lacrosse for 13 years. He had cousins and an older brother who played, and Rengers got the itch to join them in the sport. He loves the fact you can take the lessons learned in lacrosse and competition and put them into everyday life situations. He also appreciates that win or lose, being a part of the Riverton team is enjoyable. 

“I enjoy all of the things I get to learn that translate to the real world: teamwork, leadership, being coachable and many other things,” he said. “I like the team and brotherhood we all have with each other; we are always together and having fun no matter what.”

As the year began, Rengers had lofty goals, both for himself and for the team. Though the season has had some challenges, and Riverton would be a longshot to win a title, Rengers continues to work hard toward achieving those goals, undeterred. 

“My goals to start this season were to get an All-State award,” he said. “For the team, my goal is definitely to win the state championship and go out with a boom.”

After graduating, Rengers will either serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or continue playing lacrosse, this time at the collegiate level. With his high school career coming to an end, Rengers is also reflecting on how grateful he is for everyone who has helped him excel in the sport. 

“I think the people I can credit the most of my success to is my parents,” he said. “My dad has been my coach for as long as I can remember. My mom has always been there; she is either keeping stats at my games or running the entire Riverton lacrosse program. She’s been the team mom for my whole lacrosse career. I love my parents, and I am so thankful for all they have done for me in my lacrosse career.”

As for Russell, playing for his father is an experience that not a lot of players get at this level. He began playing lacrosse eight years ago. 

“I started playing because I wanted to hit people during football’s offseason,” he said. 

Russell is a senior attacker who makes the Silverwolves’ offense go. He has a tireless work ethic and doesn’t back down from the opponents. 

“I’m not scared of people and am willing to do what needs to be done,” he said. 

Russell loves playing in the family-like atmosphere of the Riverton program. He enjoys lacrosse for its fast-paced action. His biggest goals are to make All-Region and All-State. He, too, is aiming to compete for a Class 6A state championship. As the season winds down, Russell wants to be a better leader. 

Riverton concluded its regular season with a May 2 game at home against Mountain Ridge. The state tournament begins May 14, with the finals taking place May 24 at Zions Bank Stadium. 

Big things await Russell after graduating. He plans on joining the U.S. Marine Corps. Getting to this point in life, and having the success he has had on the lacrosse field, has been due to his efforts and hard work. But he also has a lot of appreciation for others in his life. 

“My mentors have been my parents and my coaches,” he said. “My parents sacrificed so much time and money for me to play a game I love. My coaches have taught me a lot and help me be the player I am.” λ