The Elks Lacrosse Club recently wrapped up its inaugural season with an 8-5 record. Team members included, from the left (front): Chris Miranda, Josiah Haggerty, Riley Buchheit, Ty Adams, Owen Chelminiak, T. Oren, Michael Begley, (back) head coach Tony Pegg, Cody Denius, Nathan Duwe, Ethan Bartelt, Clayton Fuller, Alex Bartelt, Garrett Pelnar, Logan Mortlock, defensive coordinator Kurth Wittkopf and offensive coordinator Zach Scheel. (Submitted photo)

Team ‘exceeded all expectations,’ club president says

By Heather Ruenz

Staff Writer

The Elks Lacrosse Club recently finished its inaugural season and “exceeded all expectations for a first-year program, week after week,” according to club president, Nancy DuPont.

The team finished with a notable 8-5 record and earned a No. 3 seed out of eight teams along with a home game for the junior varsity playoffs, DuPont explained.

“They defeated Cedarburg in the first round before getting knocked out by Kenosha in the second round,” she said.

Awards given out to players at the end-of-season banquet included:

  • Offensive Player of the Year to Chris Miranda;
  • Defensive Player of the Year to Ty Adams;
  • Most Valuable Player to Owen Chelminiak, and;
  • “Man in the Arena” to Clayton Fuller.

Next year already looks to be an even better one for the Elks as 12 out of 14 players are expected to return.

“Plus, a talented group of experienced, incoming freshmen will be joining the team,” DuPont said.

The Elks’ high school lacrosse grew out of the youth program, which DuPont said started in 2015.

One of the roadblocks can be the outfit needed, which can cost upwards of $500. Players need helmets, sticks, shoulder pads, elbow pads and gloves to be safe while playing.

But a grant the club received from US Lacrosse earlier this year allowed anyone interested to show up for practice, pay the $150 team fee, and get started.

Because the club is new to the area it’s taken a while to get the word out but now that the first successful season is complete, DuPont said they hope it continues to grow.

This year’s players were from Delavan and Elkhorn but teens from surrounding communities are welcome. DuPont said it is accepted practice that anyone interested join the club closest to their home. Experience is not a requirement – even if those interested have never played lacrosse.

Lacrosse is relatively new to Walworth County, but has been exploding nationally for years. According to Coach & AD Magazine, lacrosse has been the number one new sport offered on the high school level from 2012 to 2018. Information for 2019 is not yet available.

According to US Lacrosse, Wisconsin enjoyed the highest percentage of growth in youth and high school lacrosse participation between 2002 and 2014.

Since 2001, on a national level, lacrosse grew from more than 250,000 to more than 825,000 players.

Elks Lacrosse is not recognized or sanctioned by Elkhorn Area High School or the WIAA. It functions as a club team, and competes in the Classic 8 Conference. Elks Lacrosse played a junior varsity schedule this year and will do so again next year.

High school lacrosse is played on a field 120 yards long by 60 yards wide with a six-foot by six-foot goal at either end.

Players use sticks with a triangular head to carry, throw, catch and shoot the ball at the opponents’ goal.

Ten players are on the field for each team – a goaltender, three attacking forwards, three midfielders ad three defenders. Midfielders may roam the entire field – others are confined to their respective zones.

Head coach Tony Pegg said the team welcomes athletes, and not necessarily lacrosse players and said they will improve in other sports due to the emphasis on vision and hand-eye coordination.

“It’s the fastest sport on grass,” Pegg said. “It requires a tremendous amount of athletic skill – from hand-eye coordination, to running, to physicality. It has all the sports combined. It’s got a little of football, hockey, basketball, soccer.

“It makes everyone better in all of their other sports.”

Registration for the 2020 season will open in November and though dates have not yet been set, DuPont said the club will hold learn-to-play clinics in the winter.

For more information visit elkslacrosseclub.com, email elkhornhslax@gmail.com or follow the club on Facebook (elkslacrosseclub) and Instagram (@elkhornhslax.)

Correspondent Chris Bennett contributed to this story.

 
 

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