Columbia County lacrosse teams are going for gold this summer.
They’re not heading to London. They’ll be staying closer to home, competing in the annual Georgia State Games, July 21-22 in North Dallas, Ga.
Greenbrier High School head lacrosse coach Jeff Becker will take a U13 team of players from the Family Y and Columbia County recreation teams, as well as a high school team.
The majority of the high school team will be Wolfpack players, but Lakeside High players have been invited to be on the roster also.
“With our teams going to that, we’re hoping we’re going to build up interest here in Columbia County and get more participants in the lacrosse program, since it is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States at the current time,” said Gary Pam, the Columbia County Recreation Department’s athletic programs manager.
After offering some two-day lacrosse clinics in 2011, the recreation department had clinics in the spring and were able to have the 48 participating children play in game situations with teams from the Y. Players ranged in age from 8 to 14.
The U13 team was one of eight in that category registered to play at the end of June. Becker thinks teams like that U13 squad are the wave of the future.
“Just like anything else – baseball, softball – travel ball is where things are going,” he said. “To get better, we really need to start making travel teams so we can have them playing better competition in the offseason.”
Becker’s high school squad attended the games in 2011, and was one of seven teams registered before the July 2 cutoff.
“Greenbrier is going to have a team,” Becker said. “We may have some Lakeside kids on it also. Our turnout has been about 15 and we want to carry 20. Hopefully we can build it more like a family.
“Anytime they get on the field they’re going to have a tight rivalry. We’re trying to build this as a brotherhood or family. We’re really not such bad guys after all.”
Both the U13 and high school teams will play on July 21, but they might have to do well to stick around for the next day.
“We’re giving a three-game guarantee,” said Emily Gilliam, the lacrosse event coordinator. “They’ll play three pool games on Saturday then we’ll look at their records and we’ll try to get as many people to
come back on Sunday as possible, but not everyone is guaranteed a game on Sunday.”