Athletes of the Week: Harrison County Boys Lacrosse Join Forces
Most of us remember the movie The Sandlot. It's a story of neighborhood kids coming together for the love of baseball.
That was a fictional movie -- however the Harrison County boys lacrosse has served as somewhat of a real-life 'Sandlot' story. The team has attracted kids from all walks of life for the simple joy of playing lacrosse.
Several of its players explained where they attended school.
"I go to RCB," Harrison County senior attacker Ryan Freeman said.
"I'm in the Harrison County School District and I go to South Harrison," Bruins senior goalie Sloane Arco said.
"I'm home-schooled but I'll be graduating in 2016," Harrison County sophomore midfielder Jonah Lopez added.
Bridgeport High School broke off from the Harrison County program to start its own team two years ago. That left other schools such as Robert C. Byrd, Liberty, Lincoln, South Harrison and Notre Dame without its own team. That's when Head Coach A.J. Curran transformed from a coach to a recruiter, visiting high schools around the county.
"I take some of the gear with us and they usually give us a table and we're usually in the lunch room and things like that," Curran explained. "We get a lacrosse magazine from the national body and I take those so I can show pads and different ways things are played because the girls game is different than the guys. We talk about both when we go."
"We had a lot of kids playing for us when we had the Bridgeport team," Harrison County Assistant Coach Justin Cook said. "Once they broke off, we had some kids who loved the sport and wanted to keep playing. So they approached Head Coach A.J. Curran and he took the necessary means to let them know that we're going to support you and we're going to get a team together."
Harrison County makes up one of 19 high school boys lacrosse programs in the state of West Virginia. Now in their second year of existence, the Bruins are only a single win away from advancing to the playoffs next month.
"We've just worked really well together and we just communicate with each other and practice. Everybody on the team just fits really well together and it just works," Arco said.
"Oh, it takes a lot of work," Freeman explained. "It's a very hard sport to learn and get used to. But once you get used to it, it's very fun."
"It's pretty complicated, but most of us are all family. We're a team. We play together, we lose together and we work hard together. It doesn't differentiate what other sport that other teams play. I mean, we're a team," Lopez concluded.
For the coaches, it's been a whirlwind of excitement from year one all the way to year two.
"It's great, especially being on the ground level. Coach A.J. and I both came in on the ground level. Seeing these kids grow in such a quick amount of time, it makes us feel good about ourselves too, you know," Cook said. "But it also shows that they're putting in the work. They come out to practice and they work every day. We make sure they work at home. We send them to YouTube and tell them to Google videos on how to cradle and how to shoot and learn the rules, and they do. It's like homework at the very beginning, and they've done an excellent job. To see that pay off and for us to get into the playoffs hopefully, that would be fantastic."
"They get along like they've been in the same group since they were in grade school. It's fabulous. The administrators have been really good to us. So far it has been great. It's been an experiment, but it's really good. Harrison County kids are great," Curran said.
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