FLC's Andy Grenhart makes his way past a defender during a 2010 game.
Lacrosse may be just catching on in many places in the West, but it already has long and successful roots here on the Fort Lewis campus. And as a Club Sport, anyone looking to give it a try can join in the fun and challenge of FLC Men's LAX.
Men's Lacrosse is the second longest running Club Sport at Fort Lewis, behind only the Ski Team, dating back more than 25 years. In that time, the team has qualified for regional and national tournaments several times, including four appearances in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference tournament and two seedings in the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association national championships in the past five years alone. In the 2011 season, five players on the squad also received RMLC All-Conference recognitions or honorable mentions.
"I attribute our success to the fact that Fort Lewis is a place that people want to be," says Head Coach Zane Bilgrav. "Most players come not primarily to play lacrosse, but because they want to be at Fort Lewis and in Durango and southwestern Colorado."
Popular on the East Coast for generations, lacrosse is finally spreading across the country, including catching fire here in the Rocky Mountain West. "For more than ten years lacrosse has been the fastest growing sport nationally in both high school and college," says Bilgrav. "Denver also has become a hot bed of lacrosse, with leagues for all ages, as well as a professional lacrosse franchise. So we have some great lacrosse players here in Colorado."
"Fort Lewis has a strong history of success nationally," he adds, "partly because we get a lot of players from Denver, but also because we attract players from all over the country."
That diversity of players has helped the team find and nurture both established and new talent for the team, says Bilgrav. "The club is less time consuming than a varsity program, yet it offers competitive play and some high quality lacrosse. That gives people who aren't elite players a chance to be strong contributors to our program, whereas if they went to another school they might not get that much game time."
And in the spirit of Club Sports, sometimes those contributions come from athletes who are just now finding their way to this still-growing sport. "Players who have an interest but haven't played before are still welcome," says Bilgrav. "So we get some first-year players who, if they have the heart and desire, get game time. Our program gives players who are competitive a good chance to excel, and those who just have a strong interest in lacrosse a chance to get on the field and get some competition in."
Learn more about the FLC Men's Lacrosse Club here: