Lacrosse fans in Florida refuse to call it a start up sport anymore.
“We are beyond that right now. There is a consistent stream of kids from across the state that are going out-of-state and are actually doing well, starting at Division I schools, and of course DII and DIII as well. In our minds we are now just at natural operating procedure,” said Lake Mary Coach Gary Robinson.
The sport growing exponentially in the south, evidenced by a full tournament of teams in the first ever Florida vs Georgia showdown. Coach Robinson working with Coach Rich Wehman of Lambert in Georgia to organize the tournament.
“He had contacted me about this idea of a Florida vs Georgia shootout. So we kind of worked together on it, he worked on the Florida teams, I worked on the Georgia teams and we got this event, which is great,” said Coach Wehman.
“It’s definitely grown. I’m from Long Island originally, which is one of the hot beds, and I know for example that in our school district, our youth league has over 500 kids in it, so the game is exploding in popularity.”
The physicality of the game appealing to teenaged boys who love to compete.
“I like to hit people. I play defense so I just like to take the ball away, I like to play defense, I like to play the big guy and stop the offense from scoring,” said Lake Mary senior Zac Nash.
The rules and the equipment may seem foreign to some, but Coach Robinson swears the translation is easy for guys like Zac who just like to play tough.
“An athlete is an athlete. We find that anyone who is a multi-sport athlete actually picks up very well. We would encourage that. We have many success stories with kids that come from football and basketball especially, who have picked up the game very quickly.”
The tournament continues at Lake Mary High School on Saturday at 10 a.m.