by Matt Wright
After multiple meetings and off-season conditioning, the Lakeland Prep boys lacrosse team is officially practicing for its upcoming season. The upcoming season will be the first in school history for the Lions.
Head Coach Jimmy Guerin, who was recently hired to build the program, said he’s excited about the opportunity. “My goal is to have a highly competitive team for the high school here in Lakeland,” he said. Coach Guerin, a native of Chicago, has the experience needed since he grew up playing the sport in the Mid-West. In addition to his playing experience, he also helped start a club Lacrosse team at Jacksonville University in Florida. That program now competes at the Division 1 level.
Coach Guerin is assisted by Lakeland resident Brent Cower. Not only does Mr. Cower have a son on the Prep team, he’s also an experienced lacrosse player himself. Coach Cower played lacrosse at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. “Everyone from Brent to these Moms have made starting the program from scratch so much easier,” Coach Guerin said.
While lacrosse is a new sport to many in the area, Coach Guerin believes it will catch on quickly. Describing it as hockey on grass, the enthusiasm the boys have shown learning the new sport is a good sign to the new coach. He said he tells parents that the program has to start somewhere and to be patient. However, he’s already seeing improvement even with just a few official practices. “We’ve already seen tremendous growth in their skill level alone,” Coach Guerin said.
While only a few schools play lacrosse in the Shelby County area, the Lions are expected to play a mix of public and private schools like Arlington and Briarcrest in the upcoming season.
Games will begin in March and home games for the Lions will be played at the Lakeland Prep Annex on Old Brownsville Rd.