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Lacrosse clubs sticking with it

Two clubs in the region seeing numbers, organization increase as sport gains exposure
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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The Sierra Foothill and Woodcreek High School Lacrosse clubs may start each game with a face-off, but together they are expanding lacrosse in the foothills. Each club was started in the past few years by athletes and parents who share a passion for lacrosse and seeing it spread in their communities. Sierra Foothills Lacrosse Club was started by Trevor Robinson as part of his senior project. When tennis became boring to the Del Oro Senior he realized the need for a lacrosse team and decided to fill that gap. With the help of his Father, Kurt Robinson, now president of the Sierra Foothills Lacrosse Club, they recruited members and began practices. Together they took their knowledge beyond the field, teaching at local schools about the history and dynamics that make lacrosse unique. “Its an hour and a half of non-stop action unlike a lot of other sports,” said Kurt. “Each player is active, developing skills and using their brains.” Kurt fell in love with the game in the halls of his college fraternity, where he and his fraternity brothers, some of whom were two-time undeafeted NCAA lacrosse players at Cornell, would host games. He became conviced there was no other game like it and is addicted to this day. Though Trevor now plays lacrosse for UC Merced, Kurt continues to work to provide an outlet for local youth to learn a less mainstream sport. One of his veteran players team captain, Braden Ries quit football after he was captivated by both the nature of lacrosse and the close friendships he developed on his team. “It’s a mixture of sports because it has the hitting of football and running of soccer,” Ries said. “We have a lot of team spirit and its my friends and coach that keep me coming back to this team.” Now a four-year player, Ries has also competed on tournament teams with players from other clubs and hopes to play lacrosse in college next year. He has relished in the club’s growth, but would still like to see it become an official sport at Del Oro High School where he attends. Woodcreek High School made the move towards this two years ago when a group of parents and students united to start the lacrosse club. In its introductory year 22 players comprised a JV team and this year the club doubled to about 50 players, fielding both a JV and a Varsity team. Parent and club vice-president David Liebler got involved not only because of his own passion for the sport, but also to help share that with his sons, both of whom play on the Woodcreek team. He says an increase in national media coverage is a major factor in lacrosse’s growth regionally. “I think any time you are bombarded with something that increases exposure more,” Lielbler said. “ESPN had a lot of lacrosse coverage and I know my two boys were glued to it.” Watching lacrosse spark at Woodcreek has been rewarding for Liebler and he hopes to create a strong program to leave there after his children move on to college. Part of that legacy hinges on practicalities, like the time he spent learning about restrictions on uniforms and equipment, while another was instilling values of integrity and brotherhood to the players. Since lacrosse is still a relatively small sport in the area he has even noticed this commraderie between teams. You may deliver a big hit to someone and then pat them on the back and help them up,” Liebler said. “Kids play on tournament teams with kids from other schools and there is just good blood overall.” In one of those tournaments, held at Sac State, Woodcreek’s Zach Wilsom was named all-tournament for his defense, showing he learned values and skills during his training. In an effort to get even more kids involved, the lacrosse club set up a booth at freshmen orientation and has started a facebook page to get potential players connected. They have even held fundraising events and worked to keep dues as low as possible so the sport is accessible to everyone. As the popularity of lacrosse grows in the foothills both clubs noted there is still a need for female coaches and parents to start girls’ teams. To give more athletes the chance to experience lacrosse first-hand the Sierra Foothills Lacrosse Club is holding a pre-season clinic that is open to the public Saturday, Jan. 15 at LDS Recreational Park in Penryn. Youth new to the sport can borrow loaner sticks and try lacrosse for free. The Sierra Foothill Lacrosse Club and the Woodcreek High School Lacrosse Club both begin their seasons in February and welcome support at their games. For schedules or more information on local clubs visit the Northern California Junior Lacrosse Association website at www.ncjla.org. ______________________________________________________ What: Sierra Foothills Lacrosse Club Pre-Season Clinic When: Saturday January 15, 2011 Where: LDS Recreational Park 3211 Boulder Creek Place Penryn, CA New Players welcome and loaner sticks available