Lacrosse is coming to Brenau.

A New ‘Old’ Sport

Although lacrosse historically has been a sport relegated to northern climes where it originated among Native American peoples in the Great Lakes, New England and Mid-Atlantic seaboard regions, folks around the north Georgia town of Ball Ground, about 40 miles from Gainesville, will quickly remind you that the place got its name from the surrounding fields on which the early native Cherokee people gathered to play an aggressive brand of stick ball, which was a bit like lacrosse.

However, that is just an interesting footnote to the news that Brenau has started the process of hiring coaches and recruiting players to start lacrosse as the 11th distinct National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics-recognized competitive sport at the Women’s College. It is the fastest-growing team sport in the nation, says Athletics Director Mike Lochstampfor, with a lot of the growth occurring at high schools and clubs within a 100-mile radius of Gainesville, Georgia, and Brenau saw adding the teams as a way to recruit students from the area who still wanted to play after high school, where girl’s lacrosse has experienced explosive growth.

The National Federation of State High School Associations reported that high school lacrosse has grown by 150 percent since 2001 with the girl’s sport, now in the top 10 based on participation, growing faster than boy’s lacrosse, which is only 11th. In 2015 there were more than 90 high school lacrosse teams in Georgia.

Although lacrosse could use the same field as soccer at the new athletics park in Gainesville once the second phase is completed because the seasons do not overlap, wear patterns on the turf are different. Lochstampfor says that means the university may consider artificial turf.

Currently Brenau has 180 athletes competing in varsity sports. With the addition of lacrosse and indoor track, the total could go up to about 220, comprising about 25 percent of the Brenau Women’s College enrollment.

More information on the latest addition to Brenau’s athletics program at https://www.brenau.edu/news/lacrosse-coming-brenau.

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