Some time next month, Barry Smith will attend a conference and make another pitch to members of U.S. Lacrosse that Columbia County is an area where the sport is thriving.
Smith, the director of the county's Community and Leisure Services Division, will bring with him a copy of a story in the September edition of Lacrosse Magazine, which features the growth of lacrosse in the Augusta area.
Smith and the county have placed a bid with U.S. Lacrosse to play host to men's and women's collegiate tournaments in 2010 and 2011. The event would be held at Blanchard Woods Park, which features four fields and a stadium.
"We have a good match with the facilities. It's just whether they get a better offer from another community," Smith said. "We're just waiting to see if they picked us."
Smith said if chosen as the site, Columbia County would take in about 200 players and experience a nice boost to the local economy.
The magazine story could be a selling point.
The article features a photo of Lakeside High School's boys playing Greenbrier. The feature is called "Zip It," and spotlights a different zip code each month. September's focus is on 30907 and talks extensively about Lakeside's recent success and coach Ron Ritter's push to expand the sport in the area.
Area coaches Curt Gary and Jeff Becker also were mentioned.
"I'm going to take that article with me and let them reassociate Columbia County with that article," Smith said. "I think that was a good story placed in there. I'll just remind them about Columbia County when I see them."
Ritter, who moved to the area from Baltimore and played lacrosse in high school and college, began playing here on a club team started by Gary, a former player at the University of Virginia. Ritter and others started a YMCA program in 2005 and an under-19 team. Not long after, Lakeside students pleaded with the school administration to form a team at the school. Greenbrier later followed suit.
The chronology was all included in the Lacrosse story.
Smith said the growth of the sport is just another draw for potential county residents.
"I think that's definitely a quality of life commodity here that we have that encourages folks to move to the county -- as well as the school systems, housing and sports," he said. "I think it's a combination of a number of things."
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