BY JACOB FIERMAN
The sport of lacrosse has exploded in South Florida recently and it is clearly on the rise. For years Lacrosse was known as a sport that was played in the northeast, however, now it has made its way down south. Lacrosse is a sport that involves speed, endurance, skill, hand-eye coordination, and toughness, both mental and physical. Cooper City High School adopted the sport around three years ago as a club and it finally became recognized as an official team last season.
Last season the Cooper City High School Varsity Lacrosse Team made a statement after going 9-4-1 and making it to the District Championship. The team was very impressive and paved the way for future Cooper City High School Lacrosse Teams.
“Last year we had a group of veterans who knew the game very well,” senior
Brett Marra said. “They led the team with heart, skill, and an overall passion for the game.”
This season is a whole new situation for the Cowboys. At the end of last year the team graduated 17 seniors, which left only six returning players. Almost every player on the team this season has played for less than five years. For many, this season is their first time ever playing lacrosse.
“Learning how to play a new sport is tough, but my teammates and coaches have helped out a lot,” senior Cory Bunce said.
So far the team has surprised many people with their ability to come together so well considering many of the athletes have never played together before. This in part is due to the outstanding leaders on the team. Led by four captains; junior Gaven Juelich, senior Brett Marra, senior Kevin Luks, and junior Eric Brown, the team has a strong core for the rest of the player to follow. Juelich is especially important to the team by being the last line of defense, the goalie. He is the extra set of eyes and ears for the midfield and without him the team wouldn’t be nearly the same. The other captains each lead in their individual positions; attack, midfield, and defense. This allows new players to get better and it also helps the veterans to learn how to improve on their skills.
“Being so new to the sport was difficult at first,” junior Jarrett Morgan said. “Once my captains started guiding me, however, I really started to learn how to play the game correctly.”
Another huge aspect of the team is the coaching staff. The head coach, Martin Wild, is surrounded by a good group of assistant coaches, Coach’s Benson, Mayen, and Shweky. Out of the four coaches, only two of them were a part of the team last season, however, with their knowledge and understanding of the game they were able to come together as well. These coaches are just as devoted to the team as the players themselves and that alone makes a huge difference on and off the field.
“We have really dedicated coaches who give their time to teach us what we need to know to win,” junior Kyle Pumariega said. “The coaches all have other jobs, but they still dedicate their free time to us and the team really respects and appreciates that.”
So far the Cowboys are off to a powerful start. The team racked up three wins to start off the season 3-0, an amazing feat in itself. The next two games were eye-openers for the team as they were defeated by South Plantation and Archbishop McCarthy. Starting off the year three and two is no easy task for a squad with so little experience but that has not halted their play. Where the team members lack the skills of a four year player, they make up for it with their pure athleticism. Most of the players on the team have taken part in other school sports teams such as the hockey team, football team, and the soccer team as well.
The next step for the Cowboys is to take on the rest of their schedule. With top competition such as Cypress Bay at hand, the team still aspires to end the season with a strong record and perform well in districts. This is a big year for the program at the school, the team has put forth as much effort as possible to keep lacrosse at the school alive for years to come. Throughout pre-season, practice everyday after school and all of the time spent in the locker room preparing for what is to come has made this team who they are. A group of 34 athletes, all from different backgrounds athletically, joining together to take part in one of the most physical, aggressive, and exciting sports there is.