Up North: Four new high school lacrosse teams taking center stage in growing sport

Up North: Four new high school lacrosse teams taking center stage in growing sport

Up North: Four new high school lacrosse teams taking center stage in growing sport

Lacrosse, a sport that stems from Native American culture, is the oldest organized team sport in North America.

However, it’s just starting to make waves in the Northland.

Four new teams have popped up just this season, with Duluth Marshall’s creation of a boys team, the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys team, and both boys and girls teams for Superior.

With anything new comes the learning curve.

“There’s a lot of learning, right? Learning the game, learning the style, just getting to know the girls and talking to girls about, you know, going from other sports to this sport. It’s just brand new,” said Dennis Anderson, head coach of the Superior girl’s team.

The influx of teams in the area has seen athletes ranging from first timers, to experienced club team players finally representing their high school. This imbalance has thrown some players into leadership roles.

“It’s a lot different because I’ve always had upperclassmen helping me, teaching me. Now, this year, I’m more the experienced one and teaching the younger kids,” shared Madison Roach, a senior midfielder.

One of the biggest attractions for newer lacrosse players is the linear movement from sport to sport.

This is where plenty of Northland teams are seeing their athletes come from.

“Just talking to all of the hockey girls about it, they all think it’s super cool,” said Adalyn Benson, a sophomore forward who also plays for the Superior hockey team. “If they didn’t play other sports, I think they would want to try it too.”

“My background as a soccer coach for many years and just seeing kind of the same type of style, and that’s why I really enjoy coaching, and a lot of these girls have played other sports, and they can kind of take those elements,” added Anderson.

Luke Mehelich, the head coach of the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boy’s lacrosse team pointed at the usage of other sports as well.

“A lot of the skills that are required of those other sports transfer over really, really well in lacrosse. We’ve gotten a lot of interest since that first game because of it, with baseball players who are looking to transfer over and play lacrosse now. So it’s really exciting to kind of see new interests now.”

Whether it’s just learning how to field a ground ball, scoring a first goal, or making a save, the sport is new to many, but that hasn’t stopped the excitement and buzz around it.

“We had players from the opposing team, Rocori, tell us that they haven’t seen that many fans at a lacrosse game,” said Mehelich. “They said that they’ve only seen that many fans at a football game, which is huge down there. So it’s really impressive to see how big the community got behind it in such a short period of time.”