Growing the Game in Virginia, REPEAT!!

Posted: June 5, 2012 in HRLax, Updates to "A Lacrosse Story?"
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June 2-3, 2012

This year there were six girls teams and seven boys teams entered from the Southwest Virginia Area, the Richmond Area, and the Hampton Roads Area. Originally there were eight boys teams registered but one team apparently dropped out of the tournament three days before the tournament.

The respective chapters of US Lacrosse collaborated once again to make this event a huge success. We would like to give a great big shout-out to Michelle Gazarik, John Wilcox, and Andy Blanton  as well as all of the players, coaches, parents, officials, and all the great people who worked behind the scenes tirelessly to make this year’s event such a great success. They have all contributed greatly to “Growing the Game” in Virginia and demonstrated that when all the Chapters of US Lacrosse work together tremendous things can be accomplished.

#10 Christopher Murden, Hidden Valley Titans

We would also like to give a big shout-out to all the teams that competed this past weekend to include Atlee, Forest, Hidden Valley, Grassfield, Midlothian, Patrick Henry-Ashland, and Tabb. All of these schools are self compliant VHSL and are truly representative of the high school lacrosse experience. Our sentimental favorite is Hidden Valley from Roanoke and it was great to see the Pilats, Rowes, Murdens, Rices, Greggs and all the great players, parents, and supporters of the program. My boys played with many of these kids when high school lacrosse in the Roanoke Valley was just a dream. Currently, the Roanoke area has (3) self compliant VHSL teams to include William Byrd, Cave Spring, and Hidden Valley and they have (3) VHSL teams to include Patrick Henry, Salem, and William Fleming. Fleming formed a VHSL team just this year and the Roanoke Valley has more players relative to the population that any other MSA in the state. Congratulations to all the folks in Roanoke for continuing to grow the game, especially Mike Rowe who has put more sticks in kids hands than anyone I have ever met. Mike Rowe is undeniably the driving force behind youth lacrosse in the Roanoke Valley. I have never met anyone that has done more to grow the game than Mike Rowe. Thanks Mike, not only have you inspired me but you taught me that tenacity is sometimes more important than diplomacy.

As a fierce proponent of high school lacrosse in the state I am excited to share my insights on this tournament. I am not a sportswriter and choose to focus on the spirit of the game and not the statistics. I prefer to focus on Honoring the Game and sharing insights that I think are beneficial to everyone that wants to see us grow this game at the high school level in Virginia.

Coach/Captain Cole Sydnor and the Atlee Raiders

Well at this point everyone knows that the Atlee Raiders have now won two state championships back-to-back, Congratulations to all the Raiders including the parents, players, coaches, supporters, and school administrators. The Atlee Raiders are establishing themselves as the model for all high school club teams in the state by building an incredibly well organized community. With strong support from their school, their club, and their community they are establishing themselves as one of the preeminent lacrosse programs in the state. The Raiders have only (4) seniors on this year’s team and will undoubtedly be a favorite to win the state championship again next year. I was just told that several players will be recognized with Varsity Letters this year and are prominently featured in the yearbook. The Atlee Raiders will also be hosting a Lax Camp this summer for 5th graders up to rising freshman. Atlee Head Coach Eric Hall will be conducting the camp and you can also catch him this summer with Team Venom along with several members of the Atlee team as well as other players from around the state including many from the Richmond area from both private and public school.

Midlothian Head Coach Greg Barnard

The Midlothian Trojans finished second in the tournament after handing the Tabb Tigers their worse loss of the season by a score of 12-2 advancing to the championship game with Atlee, the Trojans were ferocious and the game was never decided until the final minute and a half. The Midlothian Trojans finished the season with a record of 12-6 with two losses coming at the hands of Atlee, two one goal losses against a select team from Williamsburg, and one loss each from private schools Benedictine and St.Albans. With only five seniors the Trojans look to be fierce contenders for the championship next year. Head Coach Greg Barnard will also be honored this year at the US Lacrosse Convention as the recipient of The Gerald J. Carroll, JR. Exemplary Coaching Award, created in memory of Gerry Carroll was established in 1994 and annually recognizes one boys’ high school coach in the country “whose success is best measured not in victories but in the support and guidance given to the balanced growth and development of young men who play the game”. 

Coach Greg Barnard honored the game by delivering one of the best consolation speeches I have heard anywhere by graciously acknowledging the efforts of Atlee and displaying a tremendous example of sportsmanship. We look forward to seeing the Trojans play next year as we are being told that they will actively engage higher levels of competition throughout the state and elsewhere. We wish Coach Barnard and the Trojans great success in the upcoming season.

Tabb Tigers

The Tabb Tigers finished the season with a record of 17-2 and basically shredded most of it’s opponents in the Hampton Roads Chapter of US Lacrosse. It’s only two losses of the year were against Midlothian in the state championship and Bishop Sullivan a private school in Virginia Beach. Tabb also defeated Atlee earlier this season by one goal in overtime leaving many hoping for a rematch at the state championship. Tabb’s uncharacteristic performance against a very good Midlothian team left them fighting for third place in the state tournament.  Tabb has a great coaching staff, a great group of players (15) seniors, and a strong organization. Head Coach Mike Hehir has been a driving force behind the growth of the game on the peninsula having supported the York Titans as well as the Tigers. Look for Tabb to be a serious contender next year as they will continue to rely upon the York Titans as a great feeder organization at the youth level. Tabb also has a very good JV team that will no doubt continue to enhance the entire organization. We wish them great success next year and encourage them to keep the pressure on the Hampton Roads Chapter of US Lacrosse to grow the game.

The event this weekend was a huge success and a shining example of the high school lacrosse experience for both boys and girls.

Congratulations to the Midlothian Girls Team on their win over Atlee to claim the state championship.


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