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Lakeland Lacrosse Program On The Rise

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by Carmen Greger

Field Notes with Head Coach Jimmy Guerin

Coach Jimmy Guerin

LC: Hi Coach! Looks like LPS Lax is back for season 2! I am thrilled to hear about your growing lax program and am excited to help you spread the word so as to increase your recruits! Is this boys/girls (mens/womens) lax or both?

JG: Thank you so much, Carmen! Our program right now at LPS is a men’s team but I do understand that the school is actively seeking a head coach for the women’s middle and high school.

LC: That’s great news! It’s amazing how different men’s and women’s lacrosse is, but they’re both so exciting to watch! Can you give me an overview of your current program that seems to be growing rapidly since its inception just last year?

JG: Yes! Last year was our inaugural season for the boy’s middle school (grades 6-8) and the players turned a lot heads in the area.  Now that we have a high school, we will have a 9th grade team (JV) along with a middle school team.

LP v Arlington. Photo credit Sabrina Grady.

LC: Can you tell us a bit about the community supported ‘feeder’ program that’s being considered and/or forming?

JG: Yes, absolutely. The next goal on the agenda is to expose the sport to the youth in 3rd,4th and 5th grade. I am still working through the best way to manage a strong youth program at that age level and how we can make that happen while considering resources available. Our objective is to make this a pipeline for the school teams so to be as competitive as possible in the coming years. Those youth players transitioning into the Middle School level with the experience already playing the game will be a great advantage that we don’t have yet. From what I hear around the community, there is already a tremendous amount of interest and support for lacrosse in Lakeland. The parents, kids, and the school system have been great! Especially Corrie Martin at LPS! She has been such a great support system and gives us the resources we need to make the program stronger.

LC: That’s so wonderful! I absolutely love lax and fully stand behind a healthy combo of academics, athleticism, community and team spirit! So what’s the coaching and team status for your upcoming season looking like?

Photo credit Sabrina Grady.

JG: We are currently heading into the 2nd season with 3 coaches added to the staff and one coach returning to cover the Middle and 9th grade teams. In addition, this summer Lakeland was admitted to the Tennessee Scholastic Lacrosse Association to begin competition in the league for 2023. This is the league Lacrosse competes in across the state as Lacrosse is not sanctioned by the TSAA yet. The TSLA is in the process for application to be a school sanctioned sport for the 2024 season (fingers crossed!).

I really couldn’t be more proud of the many players that picked up a lacrosse stick for the first time 8-9 months ago and already are showing promise to be true competitive athletes over the next few seasons.

They caught the Lax bug and it’s all they want to do. When we started the program last year and I began coaching in late December 2021, we had to start with the basics and like teaching the kids how to properly hold a lacrosse stick, and in just 3-4 months they were turning heads with their skill level wherever we went to play a game.

When our season ended in May, the boys were already signing up for summer leagues and playing on competitive travel clubs around the Midwest. Our July Summer Skills Sessions that our team hosted last month at the school were all very successful; we drew a large crowd of beginners and returning players alike.

LC: How do you see your lax program evolving in the near future?

JG: Well, at the moment, the combined Middle and 9th grade rosters total over 50 kids with a goal of around 60. I’m striving for 25-30 kids each on both the middle school and 9th grade teams, so we are definitely getting there!

As an advocate for lacrosse, I do hope this sport evolves into a dominant sport here in the area. When someone thinks of sports in Lakeland it would be great to have men’s and women’s lacrosse be one of the first that comes to mind.

Photo credit Sabrina Grady.

Tennessee was never a traditional hotbed for lacrosse and the sport has seen incredible growth over the past decade. We are a sport-saturated society so it’s nice to see the oldest sport in North America gain traction in this state.

LC: How should any potential players reach you to find out more info on the program, and is there an active registration page they can go to now to sign up?

JG: Anyone looking to reach out to me can email me (JGuerin@lakelandk12.org). In July we hosted Summer Skill Sessions for interested, new, and returning players and yesterday we hosted a one day Lax 101 event for new kids at the Annex Fields here in Lakeland. It was a good turnout with more looking to join the team! I will share the recent flyers we had posted by the school for interested kids (they were for the events we already hosted).

There is a link to the official registration form to play this coming season (Spring 2023) and they can either use that URL or email me directly to get it.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1gI_Ds7hAdaTI67Izst5s0ptRXI8yae7GqTIrbmj0BlI/edit

Thank you so much for helping us get the word out to promote and grow Lacrosse here in Lakeland! Fall Ball and Conditioning will begin in September for Lakeland Prep Lacrosse.

Do you have a topic or event you’d like to see covered in Currents? Email: carmen@lakelandcurrents.com

Contact Carmen Greger with news.

 

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