Hudson lacrosse growing in numbers and success
"It's a fast sport. Everybody plays. Everybody rotates in and out. It's fast, it's physical, and everybody touches the ball," said Hudson Area Lacrosse Association Vice President Candice Collins of the fast-growing sport. Hudson's lacrosse program has grown exponentially since its founding. As the number of kids has risen, so has the success.
There are over 200 participants registered for the summer lacrosse programs this year, a massive growth from the 40 kids present when the program started in 2008. Programs are also offered in the spring and fall.
"We've pretty much doubled our numbers every year," said Heather Connolly, secretary and webmaster for the group.
The association has expanded recently, adding a varsity-level team for the 2011 season and incorporating two girls' teams over the past two years at the third-fourth and fifth-sixth grade levels, said Connolly.
The program created a developmental league in the fall for ages pre-kindergarten through second grade. The aim is to steer kids toward lacrosse at an early age, said Collins.
"We're really trying to build through those younger ages," she said.
Collins emphasized the importance of attracting young girls to the sport.
"If we get the girls then, when they're deciding what they want to do, I think they stick with it."
Though the program is looking to the youth to attract new players, Connolly said no age is too late for people to join.
"The nice thing about lacrosse, because it's so new to the area, there isn't that intimidation of starting later," she said.
Collins said that proved true on the varsity squad.
"Some high school boys started as juniors, and they turned out to be some of the best players," she said.
That varsity team was outstanding this spring. The boys lost just one regular season game and advanced to the second round of the playoffs in their Minnesota league.
"We're playing with the Woodburys and Stillwaters that have been playing for quite a long time. They have a big jump on us, but we're staying competitive," said Connolly.
The interest in lacrosse grew out of necessity of options, said Collins.
"It offered an alternative. If (kids) don't want to play baseball, there was really nothing else for them during that season."
The sport provides more action for players and spectators alike, she said.
"Lacrosse is bang-bang-bang. You are going."
It is currently moving up students' lists of priorities.
"Kids are making it their first choice for a sport," said Connolly.
For more information on the association, visit http://freeteams.net/Hudsonlax on the web.