photo courtesy of Kris Höglund JUMBO Kris Höglund (‘12) is a freshman walk-on at Tufts University in Massachusetts. He started playing for the Palo Alto Tomahawks and played on Paly’s first varsity team in 2010. style of play is slower and fewer programs are competitive. Along with many other former players from the East, Nesbitt believes that this gives the West more potential for expansion. Chris Rotelli, a former University of Virginia player and Tewaaraton (best NCAA lacrosse player) winner, believes that the East is almost at capacity for growth, while everywhere else in the country is gaining ground quickly. “The West has an advantage because we can
from local club teams such as the Tomahawks, but the past few years, there have been a couple players from the East. William Hare (‘14) came to Paly from Princeton, New Jersey, last year as a sophomore and contributed immensely. He moved back to New Jersey for his junior year, but is returning to Paly for his final season. He feels that the difference he has noticed while playing lies in the intensity of the sport. “West Coast lacrosse has been relaxed,” Hare
of getting noticed by a coach is by playing with one of the traveling club teams. These teams have provided many players the opportunity to play at tournaments attended by college coaches in order to gain more exposure. By producing more teams at the top level that can travel and play with the best teams in the East, coaches will start to realize that the West is catching up in skill level and should be a strong region for years to come.
Coast prep schools were the real start of lacrosse, where schools on “East the West Coast are still just getting teams, like [Paly’s], ” Höglund said. play outside year-round,” Rotelli said. “However with the growth of box lacrosse (lacrosse played indoors on a hockey rink covered with turf), East Coast players have just as much access to the game year-round. I anticipate that players will come from all over the country (and Canada), and it will be closely tied to the coaching they receive growing up. You will see players from all over the country continue to come out of the same programs, but those programs will be nationally diverse.” Most of Paly’s lacrosse players have come
said. “East Coast on the other hand is much more serious (in terms of high school lacrosse a least). We have three hour practices after school Monday through Saturday, and sometimes we have to run 2.5 miles before school.” While the West has seemed to be slow to the party in terms of producing top prospects, Höglund, Rotelli and Nesbitt say the future is looking good for players in the West, as more and more athletes are getting recruited at the Division I level. Since there are no Division I universities west of Denver, the highest chance
Some colleges in the West, like USC and Stanford, have talked about getting a Division I team in the next few years, which would be a huge step in bringing the West Coast to the level of the East. These are just rumors, but the fact that these rumors exist gives hope that more colleges and schools will establish teams in the future. While football, basketball and baseball reign over other sports in terms of popularity in the West, look out for the expansion of lacrosse at all levels as it is currently the fastest growing sport in the country. <<<
Published on Apr 26, 2013