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Lacrosse rising in popularity locally

Posted: May 3, 2014 10:17 p.m.
Updated: May 3, 2014 10:17 p.m.

West Ranch senior Colton Long has committed to play at Division II school Adams State in Colorado.

 

Just four months after his teammate J.K. Torres announced his decision to play lacrosse at NCAA Division III school Aurora University in Illinois, West Ranch midfielder Colton Long committed to play at Division II Adams State in Colorado.

In just its second season as an official CIF-sanctioned lacrosse team, West Ranch is at the front of the lacrosse movement in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“It’s very exciting to see the program grow,” said West Ranch head coach Mike Borsos. “I think the sport is gaining interest out here and we have a lot of kids coming out and expressing interest in playing.”

Borsos thinks there are a number of factors that go into why lacrosse is becoming more popular.

“I think the weather has a lot to do with it,” he said. “Where I come from back in Ohio, we had to practice indoors a lot because it was so cold but out here you can practice outside nearly all year.”

Borsos also thinks that fan interest and younger players developing a passion for the sport have helped lacrosse rise in popularity in the past couple of years.

Valencia head coach Bill Adams, who is leading the Vikings in their first year of play, has found that his team is embracing its trail blazer role at the school

“They’ve enjoyed themselves. They really enjoy the camaraderie,” he said. “They still take pride in the fact that they’re the first team to play a game and to step on that field.”

Adams thinks the fact that lacrosse incorporates aspects from many different sports is what his players find appealing. In fact, his top player, Malik Townsend, was the second-leading receiver for the Vikings last season with 69 receptions for 955 yards.

“People think lacrosse is most closely related to football because there’s hitting. But that’s not true,” he said. “I would say it’s more closely comparable to basketball. But we play on an open field like soccer, there’s stick handling like hockey and we run plays like basketball.

“We run picks, fast breaks and have one-on-one plays. And speed, stamina and aggression are all helpful traits to have as well.”

Currently West Ranch and Valencia are the only schools to have an official team but more could be on the way.

“Hart will go out next year and Canyon is maybe two or three years away,” said Adams. “Saugus is in the beginning stages of forming a team. It’s really taking off.”

Borsos said the next priority for West Ranch is to field a girls team. He said they’ll most likely play a JV year to test the waters and then make it official.

“I know a couple other schools are looking to field teams, and that’s great,” said Borsos. “Hopefully with a few other schools playing we can have our own Foothill League for lacrosse.”

With its rising popularity with athletes and parents across Santa Clarita, lacrosse is poised to take off in the next few years.

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