The players on Grove City College’s club lacrosse team no longer have to hide in the shadows of its varsity sports, but can now share the limelight with them. Starting in the academic year of 2017-2018, the lacrosse team will move from being a club team to a varsity sport. After patiently waiting for their efforts to be recognized through dedicated practices, sacrificed hours on bus trips, and hard-fought wins, they will be competing for a Presidents’ Athletic Conference title. The PAC will have the lacrosse team face against competitors such as Washington & Jefferson College, Thiel College, Saint Vincent College, and Bethany College. The team is led by head coach Bill Sigmund and accompanied by Zach Jew.
The team will benefit in many ways when they switch from club to varsity sport, but they will face new adjustments as well. For example, when the team was considered a club team they were able to choose whatever equipment brands that the players wanted to use. However, as a varsity sport, they will no longer have that liberty, but will use the equipment brand selected by the school. They also won’t be able to travel to California and compete in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA). However, even with all of the changes, the lacrosse players are looking forward to the benefits that come with being a varsity sport.
“Switching to a varsity team will offer us all sorts of perks, but also we will lose some cool aspects of being club. Varsity will be great for practice times. Being a club team you get put behind all varsity teams for choosing practice slots… Varsity also means home games and provost excuses. We only have one home game this year and the rest are far away in places like Chicago and Tennessee.” – Jeffrey Cypher
An important improvement the team will see is finally having a set schedule where and when their practices are to be held. They will no longer have to fight with other club sports or varsity teams for half of Thorn field or the IM rooms. Cypher and other lacrosse players are looking forward to consistent practices and the chance to host more home games. Traveling and riding a bus for longer than four hours can be taxing for a college student and can affect not only an athlete’s performance, but his or her academic performance as well. As a club sport, the lacrosse team would often have to leave on Friday afternoons and not get back until Sunday evenings. This left limited time to take care of class assignments and group projects.
The number of away games compared to home games is 10 to 1 for their 2017 spring season which only gives the lacrosse team one chance to play in front of their family and friends. From an athletic perspective, it can get frustrating for the players when they cannot get the support of their fans due to the distance. Soon the players and fans will no longer have to deal with the unequal schedule conflict because they will a well balanced schedule of home and away games.
“It would be great to get a large crowd at every game because it helps keep the energy up for those on the field, especially the home team. Also, I have some sick goal celebrations in mind.” – Jonathan Bensing
There is much to look forward for the new varsity lacrosse team and the buzz on campus indicates the students are just as excited to cheer the athletes on as they are to play. For more information on the team, schedule, and mission be sure to check out the Grove City College Lacrosse Team website.