Lacrosse Taking Hold at the Academy

It is played with long sticks with nets on the end which are used to throw and catch a small rubber ball.  It is a contact sport, invented 250 years ago by Eastern North American Indians. It can be a rough sport. And it, lacrosse, has come to Stratford Academy.

Lacrosse is not only new at Stratford, but its history with Macon’s youth is relatively short. Five years ago, Stratford parents Mrs. Katie Durkee and Mr. Jack Miscall, current board member and coach for Macon Youth Lacrosse, proposed the idea of starting a lacrosse league in Macon.

“We met and started the process of getting incorporated, recruiting parents and board members, and using grass roots advertising and word of mouth to grow the number of players,” Miscall said. At the outset only 15 to 20 children, ranging from kindergarten to 5th grade, participated. Last year, the league boasted 80 players.

“We have partnered with Mercer University since the beginning, and they have been a crucial element to our success in growing the sport. The work was monumental to begin this endeavor,” Miscall said. Miscall played lacrosse in high school and college. His son Jack, 6th grade student, currently plays for the boys middle school lacrosse team.

In addition to the boy’s middle school team, Stratford has formed a girl’s JV team and  a boy’s JV team.  The boys middle school team has 18 players. The boy’s JV team, however, has 28 players, which is a surprising number considering this is a new sport.

“I have been playing outside of Stratford for a while and then Stratford made a team, so it was pretty obvious to play here,” freshman and JV team member Nick Dorogy said. Dorogy has been playing lacrosse for three years and enjoys Stratford’s coaches and team even though only five of his teammates have played the sport before this season.

The girl’s JV team currently has 15 players, but the number is growing.

Lee Ann Hughes, coach of the girls JV team, agreed to coach Stratford’s team because the Macon Youth Lacrosse’s girls team, Macon Storm, is limited to 6th to 8th grade students. Former Macon Storm players, upon reaching high school, did not have a lacrosse outlet.  In response, Hughes was asked by Stratford Athletic Director Mark Farriba to coach a team at Stratford.

Hughes, a second year law student at Mercer, started playing lacrosse in 5th grade and continued playing through high school. “When I relocated to Middle Georgia for college, there were no opportunities to play, which is what led me to become involved with youth lacrosse in the area. I am actively involved with US Lacrosse, the governing body of men and women’s lacrosse in the United States, and the Georgia Chapter of this organization,” Hughes said.

Freshmen Sarah Koplin and Olivia Pruett played two years with Macon Storm and have joined this year’s newly created team.

“We have coach Lee Ann and she’s awesome. And, Mr. Paterson is our teacher advisor and he just yells at us and it’s fun,” Koplin said.

“Since we have a lot of new players it’s going to be a rough start, but I think that we have potential,” Pruett added.

“The goal right now is first, for the kids to enjoy the sport, second, to learn the fundamentals of the game, and third, to win. The philosophy is that we need only two things from each player at practice and at games, [a] positive attitude and effort,” Miscall said.