Lacrosse blowin’ up in Truckee |

Lacrosse blowin’ up in Truckee

Alex Close/Sierra SunTruckee Lacrosse player Brian Coombs, left, faces off to start a period with a High Sierra Huskies player in the Truckee club's first game of the season Wednesday at River View Sports Park.

With somewhere around 100 kids spread on the upper and lower fields of Truckee’s River View Sports Park Wednesday evening, all toting lacrosse sticks and smiles, it was evident that lacrosse is in fact the fastest-growing youth sport around.

According to Truckee Lacrosse coach Paul Cowie, there are only three club programs within the Reno, Truckee and Tahoe area, but that is expected to change.

“Five years from now Reno will be full of lacrosse,” Cowie said before his team’s first game of the season, against Reno’s High Sierra Huskies.

When Truckee Lacrosse formed in 2003, there were 12 participants. The following year there were 25, last year 35 and this year Cowie said there are 70 youths ages 9 to 18 involved.

This is the first year the club is playing organized games, although there are only two other teams on this side of the Sierra ” the Huskies and a club from Galena.

With 12 to 14 volunteer coaches, including five or six female coaches, the club is fully co-ed.

As the mostly high school-aged boys battled it out with the Huskies on the upper field, younger boys and girls ran drills on the lower field, after which they came to the top to catch the action at the end of the game.

According to Cowie, the difference this year is the fact that Truckee Lacrosse opened up to high schoolers and Sugar Bowl Academy students, gaining young athletes from both arenas.

Practices run Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at River View Park. Usually the kids run drills for an hour and then scrimmage for an hour.

As a function of the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District, anyone is welcome to join and can call the rec district office at 582-7720 for information.

Through extensive fundraising and sponsorships from Blue Coyote, Truckee Bagel, Truckee Rotary, Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District, Cowie Appraisal Services and Sierra Mountain Mortgage, Truckee Lacrosse is able to supply equipment to interested players.

Next year, Cowie hopes to expand the team and create a club team at Truckee High.

With the fastest-growing youth sport around taking off in Truckee, the blue Sierra sky seems to be the limit.

– Lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing team sports in the United States, with youth membership (ages 15 and younger) more than tripling since 1999 to nearly 100,000.

– No sport has grown faster at the high school level over the last 10 years, and there are now more than 130,000 high school players.

– Lacrosse is also the fastest-growing sport over the last five years at the NCAA level, with more than 500 college club programs, the majority of which compete under the umbrella of US Lacrosse and its “intercollegiate associates” level.

– Invented by the North American Indian, christened by the French and adapted and raised by the Canadians, Lacrosse is considered to be America’s first sport.

– Modern lacrosse has been embraced by athletes in the United States and the British Commonwealth for more than a century.

– A combination of basketball, soccer and hockey, the sport requires speed, coordination and agility, not brawn, and thus is suitable for athletes of any size.

– Long sprints up and down the field with abrupt starts and stops, precision passes and dodges are the norm in lacrosse.

– The sport is played with a stick, the crosse, which must be mastered by the player to throw, catch and scoop the ball.

– While field lacrosse is often viewed as a violent and dangerous game, statistics reveal that the rate of injury is relatively low.

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