Colorado Natives Cap USA Select U18 Women's Performance, Brogden Cup Title

PHOTO BY NICK IERADI


The Denver suburbs produced three integral pieces of the USA Select U18 women’s team that took to Tierney Field on Sunday morning to fight for the Brogden Cup.

Attacker Camille Johnson picked up the game in the northern suburb of Castle Rock, while defender Samantha Hughes (Castle Rock) and goalie Betty Nelson (Littleton) honed their craft south of Denver.

Once club rivals in a blossoming Colorado lacrosse scene — Hughes and Nelson play for 3D Colorado and Johnson for Team 180 — the trio got the chance to represent their state, and country, as part of the U18 USA Select team.

“People don't really think of Colorado as a lacrosse state, so we’re coming together and making Colorado one of the new bring-ups,” Hughes said. “To finally get to play with each other is just so special with this representation. It shows the growth of the game and how far the West has come.”

Sunday in Sparks, Md., the three Colorado natives suited up with players from the East Coast, the Upper Peninsula, Southeastern state Tennessee and Georgia, and plenty of other regions within the United States. A total of 22 of the nation’s best high school women’s lacrosse players represent the U.S. throughout the weekend as part of the Brogden Cup — an international competition featuring Team Ontario and the Haudenosaunee.

With the U16 and U18 USA Select women going unbeaten in Saturday’s action, the U.S. was within reach of a third consecutive Brogden Cup victory. By the final match on Sunday’s eight-game slate, it had already clinched the title.

However, the USA Select team made sure to end its campaign on a high note. Johnson chipped in three first-half goals to lead the U.S. to the 15-2 victory over the Haudenosaunee Nation to cap the Brogden Cup title. She also added a goal in the U18 team’s first game of the day — a 10-7 victory over Team Ontario.

After the buzzer sounded, all 22 players dressed in white gathered together to celebrate a well-earned third straight cup. A team full of high school all-stars and top recruits served as the anchor to the USA Select effort.

“We played well and kept the energy high,” Nelson said. “We worked hard to get where we are, from regional tryouts to the combine to making a team. Today was about living the experience and having a lot of fun. We went out there and showed what we're made of.”







Johnson’s low-to-high twirler served as the highlight of the day — a trick shot she practiced at length in her hometown south of the Rocky Mountains.

“Chloe [Humphrey] was streaking behind to a chase in case I missed it,” Johnson said. “I just went for it. My dad and I practice a ton, running back and forth, doing BTBs, Twizzlers, all sorts of things.”

Nelson served as the leader of the defense between the pipes in the first half of both games, surrendering just five goals in 60 minutes played. The three-time USA Select veteran, headed to North Carolina, will graduate in 2023 and capped the weekend by hosting the cup for the third consecutive time.

“This level of play is insane,” Nelson said. “The best lacrosse I've ever played. I've been doing this for three years, so it's sacred, getting to step on this field and wear the red, white and blue. The first time I did it, I was like, ‘I have to keep doing this.’ This is such an investment in my future and the future of the game.”

Hughes aided a U.S. backline that surrendered 15 goals in four games played over two days. The Florida commit who competed in USA Select last year is proud to represent her home state.

It was a Colorado party at Tierney Field on Sunday. The future is bright in the Centennial State.

“If you look at the 2026s and 2027s, they’re just getting better every time,” Hughes said. “It's really growing and it's fun to watch.”

“Now we're getting like our own sense of style,” Johnson said. “Everybody’s super fast in Colorado, and the level of play and the pace of it is just getting so much faster every year.”

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