Sticking with new sport

GLENDALE — With the first phase of the foundation completed, Joe Campbell will look to further strengthen the groundwork of the Glendale Lacrosse Club.

Campbell, one of two coaches overseeing the club, has got a pretty good idea of what will need to be done following the first year of the club’s existence. While he would someday soon like to see it become a CIF sanctioned team, Campbell first must begin the process of finding more athletes willing and ready to gather at Glendale High’s Moyse Field in hopes of learning and participating in the sport.

Campbell, a New York native who played lacrosse in high school and college before being inducted into the Lacrosse Hall of Fame’s Greater Los Angeles Chapter in January, said he’s betting new athletes will come around hoping to pick up a lacrosse stick and get a feel for what the sport has to offer before next season begins in February.

“I hope that the new people and the ones who played this year will be out playing pick-up games,” said Campbell, who started the programs for boys and girls with Dennis Foster nearly a year ago. “If the kids can get and stay involved, they will catch up pretty fast.

“You wouldn’t recognize our teams from the beginning of the season until now. There’s been a tremendous improvement. We want to see that continue.”

The boys’ team concluded its season May 31 with a 12-4 loss to visiting Saugus to drop to 3-7. The girls’ team finished its season at 3-6.

Campbell said the final records aren’t a proper indicator to the success achieved by each program.

“For some teams, it took them three years to win a game,” Campbell said. “Our kids started to pick it up.

“The boys lost a couple of games in overtime, but they were prepared to play. The girls are a little bit behind the boys, and we haven’t had a lot of time to spend with them.”

According to CIF Southern Section Director of Communications Thom Simmons, there are currently 58 and 42 boys’ and girls’ teams, respectively, who have CIF sanctioned lacrosse teams from Orange to Santa Barbara counties. For a school to have a CIF sanctioned program, it must sign a CIF sports participation sheet and have the school district’s approval.

While the sport isn’t funded by the Glendale Unified School District, Campbell would like to see Glendale be among the group of schools that have teams competing after it becomes sanctioned by CIF.

Junior Hrach Arutyunyan, an attacker on the boys’ team, would like to see the program become a member of the CIF. Getting more people on board might be one of the quicker ways for that to happen.

“That’s what happened to me last year,” Arutyunyan said. “I had a friend of mine who wanted to get me into it, and I thought it was a good idea.

“Now, I want to try and do that. It’s real fun to see others playing the game.”

Anel Cuevas, a junior defender on the girls’ squad, said the sport can continue to grow locally like it’s done in other parts of California and across the country.

“It can expand, but we are going to need a lot more girls who want to play,” said Cuevas, who played the sport for the first time in February. “Back in February, I had no idea what I was doing.

“Now, I know way more and I feel like I’m better.”

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