Expanding it's reach in the world of youth sports, Gold Country Lacrosse Club will start its 2009 season with a new team for third to fifth grade boys and girls.
They will play a unique co-ed version of lacrosse called "Chumash" which has its roots in the Native American version of the "fastest game on two feet."
With no contact allowed, and no goalie required, Chumash teaches the ball handling skills, shooting, and defensive positioning that are a basic foundation for the sport of lacrosse. The season starts this month as an intramural competition that requires no travel and no costly equipment.
Three Gold Country "Stampede" Boys and Girls high school teams started practice in early January, and the first boys' games will be Feb. 28 at Nevada Union's Hooper Stadium. Two middle school teams - Boys U15 and U13 started practice Monday, and will also play on the 28th. Rancho Cotati Club will bring four teams to test the mettle of the Stampede in a full day of exciting lacrosse.
Varsity Coach Greg Porter, a former All American at Adelphi University in New York, will field a young but experienced team that will be aiming for a league championship.
"Conditioning is a major factor in a team's success," Porter said, "and we will play a fast moving, constant motion offense and defense that will run the competition into the ground."
He will be assisted by Andy Shoop, original founder of GCLC, and Terry Baxter who coached a Stampede Junior team to a NorCal championship two years ago.
The Girls Varsity season will start in early March, and there will be 14 games over two months with teams from eastern Northern California. The Lady Stampede will host two Saturdays for mini-tournaments at NUHS with two other teams in their Division.
Michelle Armstrong is coaching the varsity in their second year with a solid corps of one year veterans, and would like to add more players to continue building for the future.
The Boys Junior Varsity, with mostly ninth and 10th graders, plus a few first year juniors, will have at least 14 games over the next three months, and with an experienced squad will be aiming for the May playoffs.
"Even though we are young for the league we have a large group of talented players at all positions and we'll be able to throw a lot of well-conditioned players at the competition," coach Joel Heppting said. "We should do well."
Heppting will be assisted by other team fathers Tom O'Brien, a veteran of several years, and newcomers Mike Lawton and Barry Dorland.
The two boys middle school teams, U15 and U13, are light in numbers and experience. The club positions them as developmental teams that will continue to help build for the future. The coaches Roland Holland and Chuck Hemmert will steer each team through a 10-12 game schedule that starts Feb. 28, along with the two high school teams.