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  • Writer's pictureTye Ojala

Women's Lacrosse Situation

Updated: Feb 13


I am quite certain as students we all see the emails, “Call for Women’s Lacrosse players” has us scratching our heads. Students are asking questions like “Why are even receiving these emails?” Through the years at Clarke, low numbers in athletic teams have not been a problem typically.  This year however, the Women’s Lacrosse team has been struggling to find enough women to field a team for the season. After losing their coach and having a slow offseason recruiting wise, the roster was looking slim in the fall of 2023. Now, with the season less than a month away, panic could be setting in for the coaching staff and players.

 

 I had the pleasure of meeting with Curt Long, who is the Clarke Athletic Director earlier this week in discussing the Women’s Lacrosse team and what is going on with this unique circumstance. “When I first came here and this has been 20 plus years ago, we had alpine skiing. Because alpine school is such an individual and specifically skilled sport, it wasn’t something you could reach out and hope to attract people, they had to people that were recruited in. The participants dwindled, we had to let the sport go, in the case of women’s lacrosse, real emphasis at the NCAA Division 1 level. It is growing at that level, and it has done is really absorbed or taken the market of high school lacrosse players. At the NAIA and Division 3 level it is difficult to attract talented numbers, in our case the last couple of years we have attracted students from other sports. We are in a situation where we have structured the position in a way that we feel we have the right people in the right places, now it is a matter of getting through the roster challenges to the point where we can recruit competitively. The conference from a performance standpoint is such that student athletes that have some athletic ability can compete right away in that sport. They were 1 game away from the conference tournament last year, and that was with a number of students who have not played the sport before. There is a uniqueness to that and attractibility, someone can pick up a sport they have never played and be successful.”

 

There is a belief on this campus that this program can be successful and turn it around soon. It was just last season the team was one game away from the conference tournament a feat they have not reached in a few years. This was an incredible year for the Pride as they had 4 players selected to the all-conference team. It would be a huge loss for the entire athletic department if the Women’s Lacrosse Team was disbanded as the Clarke community as a whole loves to go and support them on the field. The games usually have a good turnout of students so this could be a factor in why the athletic department is working so hard to keep the team together. Time will tell if all of this comes to fruition and the 12-woman team is completed or if they will not have enough players to put out there come season time.



Tye Ojala

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