Wilkins Dismuke knows he has become a good lacrosse player because of all the attention he draws from opposing defenders.
Dismuke, a senior at Rock Canyon High School who scored a state-leading 67 goals last spring, will be honored as the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame's Boys High School Athlete of the Year April 18 at the Denver Marriott City Center.
“Most of my success last year just came from having fun on the field,” Dismuke said. “The previous two years I was really worried about getting recruited. I was at a small school like Rock Canyon. I wasn't really on the map or known nationwide by colleges so I felt I had to put up the numbers, the goals and assists, to get recognized.”
He got recognized playing back East in a couple national tournaments, and prominent collegiate lacrosse power Johns Hopkins invited him to visit. He committed prior to his junior season to attend the Baltimore school, which has won nine NCAA titles and played in 18 NCAA championship games.
“Making my verbal commitment to Johns Hopkins my sophomore summer going into my junior year, I knew I could relax, take it easy and have fun. I could focus on making the players around me every day in practice and games better, have fun and do what I like to do.”
Dismuke, who was good at almost every sport he played as a youngster, has been a lacrosse standout ever since he started playing. As a freshman at Rock Canyon, he scored 48 goals and had 61 goals and 43 assists as a sophomore. He then added 67 goals and 20 assists last season. He has 15 goals in five games so far in the 2013 campaign.
“Wilkins is an absolutely fantastic lacrosse player,” Rock Canyon coach Louis Goldin said. “He's such a fierce competitor and has an extremely high IQ of the game. He is constantly honing his skills and is striving to get better. He's coachable. He helps everyone on the team get better. He understands that this is not a one -man show.”
Dismuke, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound left-handed shooting attackman, showed his abilities and class in a recent game against Mullen, the state's No. 4-ranked team at that time. Dismuke was hounded by Mustang defenders the entire game and not given much room to move, but he showed his skills at finishing around the net and dodging opponents by scoring six of the Jaguars' eight goals in a two-goal loss.
“I've noticed that throughout the years, it has gotten a little bit harder each year,” Dismuke said. “Last year and this year, I get locked off almost every game by every team where they just have one defenseman face-guarding me. It's difficult to get the ball, and when I do get the ball they are always quick to slide and double-team me.
“I would say I sort of have a target on my back, but it's nice that some of our other guys like our midfielders can jump in and help me out. Guys like Alexander Harlan, Colton Jackson and Liam Colter can step in and take the target off my back and I can score some goals here and there.”
Dismuke and Rock Canyon, 3-2 and 2-0 in the Douglas County League standings, still have a lot of work ahead this season.
“This year we have the most talent of any team Rock Canyon has had in the previous years,” Dismuke said. “I think we can do something special with the raw talent we have on the team.
“It's always been a goal of mine to lead the state in goals or points. I have led the state in goals the past two years. I'd really like to keep that up. Getting my assists up is a big thing because that is going to help a lot when I get to college. And, just building up my physical stature, trying to get as big as I can before I get into college when I'll be playing against college seniors.”
Dismuke also had a plug for Colorado and the increased production of elite lacrosse talent in states in the western part of the United States.
“I'd go out East with the Colorado Wild, 3d and with Colorado elite teams and the East Coast guys sort of have this mentality like lacrosse isn't big out there and you don't know what you're doing,” he releated. “It's awesome to beat some of those teams in the tournaments and put them in their place and show them we do have lacrosse out here in the West and it's growing rapidly.”