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First Public League season ends with successful tournaments; contributions by leaders are recognized

Thursday, 27th May 2010

Categories Boy's/Men's, Girl's/Women's, High School, Posted 5/27/10

The Philadelphia Public League boys’ and girls’ lacrosse seasons concluded last week with one-day tournaments. In a celebration of the completion of a successful first season of girls’ lacrosse, all six schools that fielded teams this year came together and played a rainy, multi-game tournament at the Gratz supersite on May 18.

George washington's boys went undefeated in the Public League

The six schools were organized into four teams: George Washington, Girls’ High, Northeast HS combined with Delaware Valley Charter HS, and Mastery Charter-Shoemaker combined with Mastery Charter-Pickett.

Each team played three games. George Washington finished the day 2-0-1, Girls’ High was 2-1, Northeast/Delaware Valley was 1-1-1, and Mastery-Shoemaker/Pickett finished 0-3.

The rainy games ended with a few sore muscles, a lot of smiles, and some new friendships across team lines.In a brief recognition ceremony between the fourth and fifth games, all the players and coaches gathered on the field to recognize the important contributions of a litany of donors who made the first season possible.

Each girls’ team played a five or six game league-schedule this year. George Washington finished the season as undefeated champions at 5-0. Delaware Valley Charter was the runner up with a 4-2 record. Coaches, players, and officials alike are looking forward to the 2011 season where they hope to grow the sport even more.

On the boys’ side, George Washington capped off their undefeated (6–0) regular season championship by handily winning both games they played in the Public League Tournament last Thursday. In contrast with the girls’ games on Tuesday, the weather for the boys tournament was picture perfect.

A brief recognition ceremony was held between the fourth and fifth games of the boys’ tournament to recognize they myriad people and organizations that made the first season of Public League lacrosse possible. The highlights of the recognition speech is attached below.

Recognition Speech:
“From acquiring and distributing equipment to lining the fields to the daily tasks of coaching student-athletes, getting lacrosse into the school district of Philadelphia was an enormous undertaking.

‘We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge some of the people and organizations that assisted with the effort. First, Tina Sloan Green, founder and Chair of the Black Women in Sport Foundation. Tina relentlessly advocated for student access to sport programming.

“She built bridges with the Philadelphia school district and the broader lacrosse community. Bonnie Rosen, Temple University’s women’s lacrosse head coach, supported this effort in numerous ways, including offering clinics for players and coaches.

“At the Philadelphia school district, Rick Howard was an enthusiastic partner who tirelessly took each step forward whenever forward motion was possible. First with the 5-year old middle school initiative, then introducing lacrosse at professional development, and this year with the high school programs. Robert Coleman, along with Rick Howard, worked the logistics from the school district’s side. Rick and Robert made sure that the district fulfilled the final equipment needs.

“The district’s most important organizational alliance was and is with the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association, the local chapter of US Lacrosse. This dedicated group of volunteers from across the lacrosse community consistently voted to provide the necessary funds to help with the middle school initiative.

“This year the PLA matched and surpassed its previous financial support so that twelve teams in the public high schools in Philadelphia could be outfitted. Board members Cathy D’Ignazio and JB Bowie investigated how much equipment each team needed and then made the purchases and oversaw the distribution so that no link in the chain prevented boys and girls from acquiring the basic equipment they needed.

“To get a sense of the type of commitment from PLA a partial list of what PLA purchased includes: 75 boys helmets, 50 boys sticks, 11 goal cages, 60 girls sticks, 110 pairs of goggles, 340 mouthguards, paint, several sets of goalie equipment and more.

“Chris and Carole Hupfeldt and their company, Competitive Edge and Mike Rinier at Longstreth Sporting Goods, dealt with the equipment manufacturers and the shifting quantities and sourced the equipment at unbelievable prices. Competitive Edge and Longstreth even donated equipment like balls – dozens and dozens of balls – and goal nets.

“Eric Gregg and the LEAPS program offered equipment and support. Steve Kotch of Premier Lacrosse and owners Joyce and Larry McQuaid coordinated equipment donations and offered substantial discounts on equipment purchases.

“Donated equipment from Marie Schmucker at Keith Valley Middle School in the Hatboro Horsham School District filled in some of the gaps when she donated over 40 pairs of both shoulder pads and elbow pads for the boys teams.

“More equipment came from the University of Pennsylvania’s men and women’s lacrosse teams, Tredefryn-Easttown’s Quik Stix program, Roberta Butler from Council Rock Youth Lacrosse, and many other individuals who dropped off equipment to either Cathy D’Iganzio or JB Bowie at Friends Central School.

“The Svengali behind this drama was John Benci from Delaware Valley Charter High School. He coaxed and directed, and stayed late and started early making sure that all of the actors did their part, on time and in time for the show to go on.

“The University of Pennsylvania men’s team offered clinics, expertise and coaching assistance. Some of the coaches attended the US Lacrosse coaches training sessions. However, all the equipment in the world won’t get a student motivated to learn the game. The coaches for the new teams worked each week to provide the students with a quality athletic experience.

“If it takes a village to raise a child, it took the combined resources of an entire metropolitan region to get lacrosse started and on the way to becoming a varsity level PIAA District 12 sport for the boys and girls in the Philadelphia public high schools.”


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