Lynnwood Tigers face Lake Washington in high school lacrosse season opener

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Lynnwood's Trey Knowles is checked by San Juan's Michael Ausilo during the second half of the 2010 Boys Division II state high school lacrosse championships. Lynnwood defeated San Juan 16-7 for its first state title. (Photo by Sue Larkin)

By Quint Turner

Tedd Girgus coaches the local high school lacrosse team, the Lynnwood Tigers, and we had a chance to talk with him about the team and the increasing number of lacrosse fans. (Our area now has a professional lacrosse team, the Washington Stealth, which plays out of Everett.) The Tigers, which include players from Edmonds, last year won the Division II high school championship and this year have moved up to Division I.

By the way, the game played by the Stealth (indoor “box” lacrosse) – is played on a hockey-rink sized field indoors, whereas high school lacrosse is “field lacrosse” played on a field similar in dimensions to a soccer pitch.

Q: Has lacrosse has been growing in popularity ever since the Stealth came in?

A: Well, before that. But yeah the Stealth has helped.

Q: So what about the sport helped draw fans?

A: Well, it’s because the sport is known as one of the fastest sports. The nickname of lacrosse is “The Fastest Game on Two Feet.” Meanwhile, the other sports during the spring are either soccer, which a hockey player or football player doesn’t like to play –especially wearing the shorts — and baseball, where most people are bored. With lacrosse, it’s like hockey on the field, very physical, fast, high scoring and fun to watch at all times.

Q: Would you say it’s like hockey, with balls?

A: (laughs) I would.

Q: What should new fans know about a match?

A: People are going to the game because it is enjoyable. I’m reminded of one time a while ago when my wife was depressed about leaving baseball since she liked laying out in the sun on a blanket and just relaxing while watching baseball, and I’m like ‘you can do that in lacrosse as well while enjoying a nice fast-paced game!’

Q: Since you just moved up to Division 1 from Division 2, do you have any teams or players you’re looking out for?

A: I just keep telling my guys that someone has got to bring those teams down sometime. So no, we’re not worried. We’re just going to go out there and play our game the best we can.

Q: Have you had any past players go on to any big-name colleges?

A: Not any big name schools, but Alex Tindle, last year’s scoring champion, and John Williams, one of our best defenseman, both went to St. Andrews (Presbyterian College, in North Carolina) and Tindle was named player of the week for having four three-goal games and one five-goal game this past week.

Q: What type of training do you do to help the players on the field?

A: We basically do what soccer does, but on steroids. They have to run a lot. You have to do a lot more running, be more physical, take a hit. Any weather, we play in it.

Q: Even snow?

A: Even snow. That’s the reason why we have orange balls. But it hurts to take hits, and you just have to build up muscle to deal with it, even mentally, to take hits. Hits hurt.

Q: Do you like outdoor or indoor lacrosse more?

A: You can’t really compare the two, but I like both. The indoor lacrosse games have a lot more relaxed rules on hitting while in outside you’ll get a lot of penalties for dangerous contact. You couldn’t get away with some of the Stealth stuff, put it that way.

Q: Do you have any final thoughts for the fans?

A: I want more players to come out and enjoy the game. I want people from Meadowdale to come out and play, but they don’t just because they don’t know enough about it.

The first game for the Tigers is Tuesday, March 15, when they meet Lake Washington at 7 p.m. at Meadowdale High School. The complete Tigers schedule is here.

Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. and in Washington state it has experienced double-digit annual growth throughout the past decade. With a 33-year local history, more than 4,000 students attending over 100 WIAA schools now make up 154 individual boys and girls Varsity and JV teams across eastern and western Washington.

Governed by the Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association and the Washington Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association, the sport is played during a nine-week spring season capped by annual boys and girls state championships in late May. To learn more about lacrosse in Washington or to receive daily high school results, visit USLAX-WA.org or become a fan on Facebook . To learn more about the history, traditions and values of lacrosse, college opportunities available to students, and the 21 U.S. states now sanctioning high school lacrosse, visit USLacrosse.org.

Sports contributor Quint Turner is a student at Meadowdale High School.

 

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