East Star Players Sally and Finley-Ponds Ready To Rip
Story and photos by Reid Neureiter For the GPHN
Denver East boys lacrosse has some work to do to make the post-season, having fallen on April 5 at home to 4th-ranked Kent Denver by the score of 11-4, and losing to 8th ranked Colorado Academy by a score of 11-7 on April 13. In mid-April, East’s boys’ lacrosse team sat with a 4-5 record, with the regular season concluding with a home game on May 2 against Heritage.
But two East Angel senior star players will continue their lacrosse careers beyond this regular season regardless, having been accepted at NCAA Division 1 powerhouse programs.
Senior defender Cole Finley-Ponds will be wielding his long-stick for Johns Hopkins University, a storied lacrosse program with 44 national championship titles, dating back to 1891. And East senior attackman (and Park Hill resident) Mustang Sally will be shooting goals for the University of Richmond Spiders, a top-20 program and regular NCAA tournament contender.
Both boys are products of the Park Hill-based City Lax program, a central Denver youth program whose mission is to create educational and enrichment opportunities for youth in underserved Denver neighborhoods through the sport of lacrosse.
According to Mustang’s father, Ron Sally (who himself played quarterback for Duke University), the two boys will be among the first City Lax players to make it to such a high level of men’s college lacrosse. Ron Sally gives great credit to City Lax’s effort at the holistic development of its players, including academic development, by using lacrosse as motivator. Considering lacrosse’s historic reputation as a preppy sport of the suburban set, Ron Sally considers the two boys pioneers in being accepted to top-rated academic and lacrosse institutions on the east coast.
“They are going somewhere [that City Lax] kids have not gone before, especially kids who look like them.”