There’s a new girls lacrosse team in town.
Over the past few years, lacrosse — especially on the girls’ side — has continued to grow in Colorado as it makes its expansion westward from the East Coast. This season, Mead High School is fielding the St. Vrain Valley School District’s first-ever ladies’ team, bringing in faces new and old to join its ranks.
Lori Welty’s daughters, Ava and Mia, attended Erie High School but played for Fairview over the past few years without a district team to call their own. Lori has reveled at the sport’s growth in the state over the past few years, especially as a former player in Connecticut herself.
She jumped at the opportunity to volunteer for SVVSD’s pilot program.
“I think the program in Boulder has a long history of excellence, so that was really special to be part of, to come into a program that had that long history of excellence,” Lori said. “But I also think it’s really cool to be able to kick off a new program too and kind of help create what’s no doubt going to be a great program. I see it already.”
The district brought in a familiar face to coach with Katie Coleman Bergmann, who graduated from Legacy in 2013 and played for the BVSD team when it was at Centaurus.
After attracting just a handful of girls for fall practices, the team hosted a “bring a buddy” day to try to garner more interest. Over 40 prospective athletes showed up, and nearly all of them stuck around to not only field a varsity team, but a JV squad as well.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that lacrosse can appeal to players from a wide range of different backgrounds.
“I think the great thing about lacrosse is you can be great at it, no matter what sports you played before,” Coleman Bergmann said. “I mean, we have hockey players, basketball players, softball players all coming out on this team and they’ve all found success in their own ways.”
A new program, of course, means that Mead will see players of all levels of expertise.
Allie Hartman, a senior midfielder from Silver Creek who spent her last two years (minus the COVID-canceled season) with Fairview, had to make the switch over to the new district team. While it’s been an adjustment moving from a Class 5A state semifinalist to a pilot 4A program, she’s enjoyed watching many of her new teammates find joy in the sport for the first time.
“It’s really neat to just see people coming into practice and pretty much start from square one, but be very excited about learning,” Hartman said. “It’s exciting to get to teach them things and go through this process as a team.”
Kennedy Gorske, a sophomore defender out of Erie, decided to try out lacrosse after her basketball teammate, Mia Welty, convinced her. Mia, an EHS senior herself, believed Gorske’s defensive skills would translate well from the court to the field.
It seems to be working out well, and Gorske is loving the ride so far.
“Defense has been really easy for me to pick up just because it’s kind of the same principles,” she said. “Offense has been a little harder for me just because I need to learn stick skills and stuff like that, but I’m getting a hang of defense pretty well.”
Just one game into the season, the Mavericks are already making quite the impression as the eighth-ranked squad in CHSAANow.com’s latest 4A poll. Last Thursday, they lost by just a goal, 7-6, to No. 1 Castle View.