Wilsonville youth lacrosse program growing
In Wilsonville, the sport of lacrosse is a growing force. Reaching from kindergarten through the high school level, it seems that more and more kids are looking to lacrosse instead of traditional springtime sports like baseball and track and field, among others.
The Wilsonville Lacrosse Foundation might be one of those reasons. Starting at a young age, the program introduces kids to the sport in an effort to give more exposure to one of the fastest growing sports in the area. One part of that is the "fiddlesticks" program for kids in kindergarten through the second grade. After that, there are teams based on age intervals all the way up until the seventh and eighth grade team.
"Our program is to introduce lacrosse to kids, give them exposure," Wilsonville Lacrosse Foundation boys director Grady Nelson said. "It's one of the fastest growing sports in area. It also helps feed high school team as well. Basically use the youth teams as a feeder league."
Since part of the Foundation's role is a feeder league for the high school lacrosse team, the future looks promising for the Wildcats. The seventh and eighth grade team went 11-0 this past season against competition from Oregon and southwest Washington.
"We had a hired great coach (Rick Vanden Brink), and he was able to bring years of experience to program," Nelson said. "He provided them a lot of great education and skills training. That team ended up doing very well this year. The kids are excited, pumped and ready to grow and transition into high school. The seventh graders gets leadership for the upcoming sixth graders. Hard work and determination from coach and players."
Part of the appeal, according to Nelson, can be attributed to the nature of the game itself. Nelson sees lacrosse as taking various aspects and characteristics from different sports like soccer, hockey, and track and field and combines them into one fast paced sport.
"Lacrosse is a sport that takes a lot of skill and excitement," Nelson said. "It takes soccer mentality, hand eye coordination, it's fast paced, it goes rain or shine or snow, and actively gets kids involved. It keeps you constantly in shape. It's a blast to play, coach, and watch. Parents come in and in one hour the kids have a great time and get to spend day doing something else."
"Our community is really embracing the program," Nelson added. "We're already making plans to build the program going into next year. We will be offering try-lacrosse days during the summer, as well as fiddlesticks. We will have a big tournament in the summer. The community embraces it. Baseball and track kids converting because of how fun it looks."
For more information on the foundation and the events they have scheduled, go to http://wilsonvillelacrosse.website.siplay.com/.