Goerne’s name, character etched into X10 Lacrosse’s camper of the week award

Between frequent visits to the Roaring Fork Valley for snowboarding and to help coach lacrosse, Matt Bocklet got to know Michael Goerne quite well. And he saw the same character traits in Goerne so many others have before his untimely passing last year.

“We even did the Aspen Uphill race one year together. Just two guys that had a lot of common interests and got along very well,” Bocklet said. “Mike was everything that we try to accomplish with our camps and what we want our campers to be exposed to, which is obviously the game of lacrosse, but more importantly trying to include people within the sport.”

Bocklet and his family run X10 Lacrosse, which for the past decade has put on a handful of youth camps across the U.S. each year, including one in Colorado. This year’s camp ran July 27-30 at the Colorado Mountain College campus in Glenwood Springs, which for many of the campers was their first time back playing since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the sports world.

Bocklet, who lives in Denver, wasn’t able to be at the camp himself this summer as his primary job, which is being team president for the Denver Outlaws of Major League Lacrosse, kept him busy. The Outlaws were recently in Annapolis, Maryland, where MLL came together to finish out its pandemic-delayed season. Denver ultimately lost in the championship game.

“Our camp, what we are trying to do, is have people branch out, make new friends, include people that maybe aren’t at the same level, lacrosse wise,” Bocklet said.

The camp not only let the players shake the rust off, but it opened a window into the soul of Goerne. A Minnesota native, Goerne moved to Carbondale soon after graduating from Marist College in New York — where he played Division I lacrosse — and is largely credited for the massive growth of lacrosse in the valley. He helped start the Aspen Lacrosse Club, which he co-ran until his death, and started the Aspen High School boys lacrosse program, leading it to the 2015 state championship.

Goerne died Feb. 16, 2019, when he and Owen Green, another young lacrosse coach, were caught up in an avalanche while training for a backcountry ski race. Both men have been honored by the lacrosse community in multiple ways since their passing, and the X10 camps are no different.

“He was a phenomenal leader and got a lot of people involved that probably would have never even heard of lacrosse before or played the sport,” Bocklet said of Goerne. “The camp was kind of modeled right after the way Mike approached life. To name the camper of the week after him was a no-brainer, because our goal is that kids walk away from that week with the same mindset that he had in his approach to life and lacrosse.”

This was the second year the X10 Colorado camp handed out a camper of the week award in Goerne’s name. They handed out a single award last year, but gave out two this summer, to one boy and one girl.

This year’s winners were Evan Calkins and Charlotte Rooney.

“This is the first camp I think, ever, out of all the X10 camps and all the camps that I’ve done, that we had more girls than boys, which was super cool,” said Chris Bocklet, Matt’s brother, who ran the camp in Glenwood Springs. “There were two people who stuck out to us, so we felt like it would only be fair if we had two, a boy representation and a girl representation. What was kind of cool about those two people is they were completely opposites in the lacrosse skill department.”

Guest coaches included both Tommy Cox and Amanda Trendell, who coach the AHS boys and girls lacrosse programs, respectively. Those two have recently partnered to create an indoor, multi-sport training facility near Carbondale that is set to open later this fall.

The AHS boys had yet to play a game under Cox in spring 2019 before Goerne’s passing.

“I love the idea,” Cox said of naming the X10 award after Goerne. “Mike’s name at this point has turned into a symbol for hard working, leadership, lacrosse — all the things that you look for in a student-athlete. And if we are going to choose somebody to emulate those characteristics, I think it’s perfect to call it the Mike Goerne Award.”