When Port Angeles High School cut its lacrosse team in 2009, the sport’s future on the peninsula looked bleak.
But lacrosse has bounced back and is bigger than ever: Not only are there more than two dozen players on the Olympic Mountaineers “high school” squad, but this year the North Olympic Peninsula Lacrosse Club has started a new team for seventh- and eighth-graders.
The two teams are practicing at the Agnew Fields, which also will serve as the location for home games this season.
Andrew Moravec, a former high school lacrosse player, is the coach of the new seventh- and eighth-grade team. Moravec and assistant coach Lee Biladeau are both members of the Coast Guard stationed on the peninsula.
Thirteen players signed up for the new squad, which has a 10-game opening season running March 12-May 21.
With the exception of a pair of shorts, uniforms for the seventh- and eighth-grade players are provided at no cost. The uniforms, including extensive safety gear, were purchased through a grant from U.S. Lacrosse, the national governing body of men’s, women’s and youth lacrosse. The national organization provides the grants to introduce more young athletes to the sport.
The team still is signing up new players and is open to all boys and girls in the seventh and eighth grades. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big guys, big aspirations
The “high school” team is made up of players in grades 9-12 from across the peninsula. While Port Angeles, with its long lacrosse history, formerly provided virtually all of the team’s players, this year’s Olympic Mountaineers features eight Sequim High School athletes.
In 2010 the team had a good year, finishing second in the Olympic League before losing the first game of the playoffs.
The 2011 Mountaineers have their sights set higher. Coach Dave Farrington said the lineup is anchored by three returning stars from the 2010 team, including 1st Team All-State midfielder Jacob Dostie, 1st Team All-State defenseman Cole Bailey and Julian Walls, a 1st Team All-League player.
Farrington said his team’s extensive roster of experienced players provides additional confidence, with “just four rookies” learning the game this year. Farrington said many of his players are multi-sport athletes, competing in basketball, wrestling, soccer and football.
“This is going to be a very exciting year,” said Julie Dostie, president of the Lacrosse Club, which sponsors the team.
Pay to play
The Lacrosse Club picks up most of the approximately $12,000 tab for the season. That includes fees for field rental, coaches’ fees and travel, Dostie said.
Players are required to pay a $50-per-player fee, plus a mandatory $35 membership in the U.S. Lacrosse League ($25 for seventh- and eighth-graders).
Dostie said the team raises much of the necessary funding through the sale of packaged “smoked sea salt.” The salt, which comes in four flavors (alder wood, apple, cherry and hickory), is available for purchase in Sequim at The Red Rooster Grocery and Hardy’s Market and also is available at Olympic Cellars and Camaraderie Winery.
Additional funding is provided by club sponsors Coldwell Banker Uptown, Evergreen Collision Centers, Just Smoked Salmon, Farmers Insurance, Miller Signs, NTI and Tim’s Cabinets.