Hopes high for future of lacrosse

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 17, 2002

[05/17/02]Actual attendance for a series of lacrosse clinics at St. Aloysius was far less than the number of students who signed up, but organizers of the fledgling program still believe they will be able to field a team next year.

Nearly 30 St. Al students signed up for the clinics, which ended Thursday, but only about 10 have consistently attended. Ten players are on the field at once during a lacrosse game, and teams typically have between 15 and 25 members.

“A lot of the ones we called said they weren’t able to participate in these clinics, but that they’d definitely do it in the fall,” said Judy Ward, a member of a parents’ committee that helped organize the introductory clinics. “We’re not discouraged because out of 30 we only had 10 show up. This was just to see if anyone would show up.”

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Despite the low turnout, clinic instructor Vince Chiarito said enthusiasm for the new sport was high.

“If I was going to grade them on enthusiasm, I would give them an A’,” Chiarito said with a laugh.

Additional practices and scrimmages are planned throughout the summer, but Chiarito said more players would be needed to field a team.

“You need to have 16-22 people to have an actual team,” he said. “At some point in the game it doesn’t get to be much fun if you don’t have any substitutes.”

Lance Logan, a St. Al freshman who helped start the idea of a lacrosse team at the school, hoped to keep the team growing through word-of-mouth. Parents, meanwhile, were discussing incorporating the team as a non-profit organization, which would allow them to draw players from all over the city.

Currently, the plan is for the lacrosse program to operate as a club team that is only loosely affiliated with St. Al. The team would use St. Al’s colors, nickname and facilities, but receive no financial support and would not be governed by the MHSAA.

Only one other high school in Mississippi, St. Andrew’s, has a lacrosse team.

“We do see that it’s going to continue through the summer,” parents’ committee member Robin Clapp said of the program.

Another stumbling block could come in the fall. Chiarito, an engineer at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, said his schedule probably wouldn’t allow him to coach a team in the fall.

“Through the summer, I can do the clinics and the scrimmages, but next fall I don’t know if I can commit to it,” he said.