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Pro lacrosse player holds local clinic

Posted: November 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Former major league lacrosse player Chris Panos, left, picks players to form teams from the 35 participants, ages 6-15, who attended the Team Panos Lacrosse Clinic held at West Creek Park in Valencia on Saturday.

 

More than 30 youngsters strapped on helmets, slipped on gloves and picked up sticks to take part in a free lacrosse clinic Saturday afternoon in West Creek Park.

Participants sprinted, did push-ups and ran offensive and defensive drills during the clinic, which was put on by former professional lacrosse player Chris Panos.

“I like to help out the kids and I like to give back to the community,” Panos said Saturday during a break in the action.

Panos played the sport in college before being selected in the first round of the National Lacrosse League draft. In recent years he has been leading camps, clinics and training sessions to spread the word about and generate interest in the sport that he has played since he was 6 years old.

“I think by spreading the sport, getting more interest in it, I can give something back to the sport that gave so much to me,” Panos said.

Because of the efforts of enthusiasts like Panos, lacrosse has gone from being more of a niche activity with much of its popularity confined to the East Coast to a sport garnering national interest and attention.

That trend is reflected in the Santa Clarita Valley as well, with local club teams and organizations starting to gain popularity.

The sport is also starting to develop at the high school level. A team was formed at West Ranch High School last year and discussions are ongoing to form programs at other local high schools.

And if Saturday’s event is any indication, those programs may soon have a solid crop of players ready to suit up.

Jeremy Eppenbaugh was one of the participants in the event and has been playing lacrosse for about three years.

“I really like it,” he said of the sport as he strapped on his gear to head back out on the field.

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