CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Dating back to the 17th century and becoming more and more popular in America each year, the game of lacrosse has become one of the fastest growing sports.
The state of West Virginia first produced a lacrosse team back in the early 70’s but it wasn’t until recently that the sport started to develop across the state.
“But it really didn’t start booming and really fundamental lacrosse and the way that we know the game today really didn’t start happening here until 2012-2013 and you started to see some kids with real skill that could play out of state and really, really hold their own,” Tony Stingo, Fairmont Senior Boys Lacrosse head coach, said.
It’s back to the basics for many lacrosse teams here in West Virginia, especially for new and upcoming teams.
“The teams that are successful here in West Virginia that’s how they do it. They start in the basement and it’s fundamentals first. And i’m sure the game here is much simpler than it is in Philadelphia and Baltimore and Long Island but that’s what it has to be,” Stingo said.
Two programs that have found their footing at lacrosse in the mountain state are Fairmont Senior and Morgantown High School. The Polar Bears are two-time defending state champs in addition to the girls team picking up a state title last season as well. Morgantown has one of the longest standing lacrosse programs in the state.
“There were peaks and valleys when I was an assistant. You know we won a couple state championships but then in the most recent years before I took over we had less than .500 seasons win percentage and we also had a two-win season the year before I took over. So building that from two wins to five wins to having 12 or 13 wins and making playoffs and winning games in the playoffs was a big goal,” Jeremy Bennett, Morgantown Boys Lacrosse head coach, said.
“But really it’s about what the kids are doing in the off season. We can give them all of the information in the world but we’re lucky enough to have kids who have really fallen in love with the game and they’re out there putting the work in on their own they’re hitting the wall, they’re in the weight room, they’re running, they’re passing, they’re going out playing pick up games. It’s about the kids I mean the kids have to invest and commit just like any other sport and they’ve done that,” Stingo said.
But the further development of the sport will have to wait. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic no lacrosse will be played this spring. But that leaves plenty of time for preparations for next season.