Inside the Eight

Girls Lacrosse Starts Fall Season

With+a+sunset+behind+them%2C+sophomore+Lola+Walter%2C+senior+Kamryn+Kramer+and+junior+Raegan+Ford+pose+for+a+picture+after+beating+Westwood.+%E2%80%9CI+think+the+team+did+exceptionally+good+for+this+being+our+first+scrimmage+and+with+the+new+players+and+returning+players%2C%E2%80%9D+Walter+said.+%E2%80%9CI+loved+getting+to+do+this+because+it+lets+us+see+how+much+we+can+improve+for+%5Bthe%5D+real+season+and+what+we+are+already+strong+on.%E2%80%9D

Photo Courtesy of Lola Walter

With a sunset behind them, sophomore Lola Walter, senior Kamryn Kramer and junior Raegan Ford pose for a picture after beating Westwood. “I think the team did exceptionally good for this being our first scrimmage and with the new players and returning players,” Walter said. “I loved getting to do this because it lets us see how much we can improve for [the] real season and what we are already strong on.”

Heidi Williams, Reporter

Ever since the indigenous peoples began playing lacrosse in 1100 A.D. in what is now the New York area, it’s spread all across North America being most popular on the East and West Coast. According to the NCAA website, the best D1 lacrosse schools for girls are North Carolina, Boston College and Maryland, which all lie on the east coast. In Texas, football reigns in sports, but with rising popularity, lacrosse clubs and travel teams in central Texas are starting to blossom. 

The number of players has grown, according to Head Coach Erin Kramer, who has coached the Cedar Park Girls lacrosse team for two years. As of this year, the team has a total of seven new players.

“I feel like this year is definitely standing out to me for bringing in new girls,” Coach Kramer said. “Especially this fall. When I first started two seasons ago, I think we had maybe one or two new girls, period. So each year we’ve gotten more and more girls to come and try it out.”

Stopping there isn’t an option, according to Kramer. Her goal is to spread the word about lacrosse in the central Texas area across high schools and middle schools. She is starting off by designing posters to put up in local high schools and then gradually posting them in middle schools.

“I think if we target freshman and sophomores, to bring [girls] on earlier to teach them as 6th, 7th and 8th graders, so that they’ve already learned lacrosse by the time [they’re in high school],” Coach Kramer said. “It’s spreading the word a little bit sooner so they can join the high school team and we can have more of a competitive JV and Varsity team.” 

Every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday the team heads to the Town & Country Sports fields to begin practice. Any of those days, girls from anywhere are able to try out a practice and all equipment  provided.

“I hope I’ve inspired the girls that have come on as new players to love lacrosse by me teaching them, like from a beginner as a freshman or sophomore and showing them that they can learn,” Coach Kramer said. “[I hope] that they’re willing to bring their friends who are also beginners and they are not afraid to try it and try something new even though it’s at the High School level. And I think I make it welcoming for new players to learn.”

After being convinced by many friends, senior Greta Klein arrived at her very first lacrosse practice on Sept. 27. Thinking she’d be bad at the sport, Klein pushed through as the Cedar Park Girls Lacrosse team is very accepting of newcomers.

“I am very glad I went to lacrosse practice,” Klein said. “It was super fun and a great environment. I was scared to try it at first because I thought I would be really bad, but the team was super welcoming.”

I was less scared once I started to see all the similarities to other sports I’ve played, like soccer and basketball. I would tell the scared athletes that it isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. I would definitely recommend lacrosse to other people because it’s not a super popular sport, but it’s certainly super duper fun.”

— Greta Klein

After recognizing the many sports that are combined into lacrosse, Klein’s understanding of the game changed. Within minutes of the practice, she was up to speed with the people who have been there throughout the fall. 

“I was less scared once I started to see all the similarities to other sports I’ve played, like soccer and basketball,” Klein said. “I would tell the scared athletes that it isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. I would definitely recommend lacrosse to other people because it’s not a super popular sport, but it’s certainly super duper fun.”

With Kramer’s 33 years of playing and coaching lacrosse, she said she has never gotten bored of this sport. She loves being on the field in general and advocates that lacrosse can be a lifetime sport for anyone.

“I don’t think people realize how fun it is until they actually try it and figure it out,” Coach Kramer said. “It’s rewarding because you think that small ball, like what you can do with it versus a giant soccer ball or a basketball. It just feels different to have that ball in your stick and to control [the ball and to] know when you get rid of it.”

The main goal of many lacrosse clubs here in Texas is to raise awareness of the sport.

“I think a lot of girls can aspire to play at the next level especially now, in our country there’s a lot of opportunity to play in college at every level, like a club, junior college, and D1,2,3,” Coach Kramer said. “There’s just a lot of opportunity to play at [the] high school level here in central Texas [and] I wonder how many years it will be until one of the big D1 colleges pick it up. Because that’s the ticket, if one of them, those big D1 schools pick it up, then I think that it’ll explode here in central Texas.”

As the sport continues to gain traction season after season, new athletes are encouraged to come and try it out.

“We want to be a welcoming team that is welcoming any age group of or any year of girl to come try it in a safe friendly environment,” Coach Kramer said. “That gives them a chance to try it before they commit.”

Senior and captain Kamryn Kramer, who happens to be Coach Kramer’s daughter, has had her fair share of people coming in and out of lacrosse. With her experience of 13 years and counting, she hopes that the club team continues to thrive.

“The only way that you’ll be good is if you keep trying,” Kamryn said. “It’s easy to learn, we have a bunch of people that can help. We have a lot of strong players that have a lot of experience and this is the first year that we all feel free to work together and we all have a really great community and team bonding that creates chemistry.”

‘Trying’ is a big part of lacrosse. Whether it’s the first day holding a lacrosse stick, or trying to learn a behind-the-back shot, lacrosse players all have to struggle with trying. Though it may freak some new players out, once players got it down, the rest of the ride is a breeze, according to Coach Kramer.

“I think it’s like riding a bike,” Coach Kramer said. “You don’t learn how to ride a bike unless you get on the bike and try. You might wobble here and there until you get that balance, but really it is just like learning how to catch a ball with your hands. Using the stick is just slightly different. Once you accept that you have to use this implement to do it, and you try it, and practice it, it’s very simple. It’s a steep learning curve, but short. And those players that quit after the first time, they really haven’t given it a try. It takes at least three lessons until you really start to feel confident and also being okay with making mistakes is really important.”

The Cedar Park Lacrosse Website has more info for any students interested in trying out the sport.