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Continued: A stick, a ball and a lacrosse boom in St. Paul

  • Article by: JAMES WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 14, 2014 - 8:34 PM

What will it take for lacrosse in St. Paul to grow as robustly as in the suburbs?

“In other communities, it’s part of the school sports program, giving them a more compelling energy,” Flynn said. “In St. Paul, it’s always been a club team — maybe with only a few kids at each school playing.”

It will be tough to persuade the schools to add teams if those numbers don’t grow, he and Tapio acknowledge.

And, yet, it grows. The St. Paul association has about 125 kids on its youth teams and another 80 on its high school club teams, Tapio said. As the teams have grown, players have gotten better, winning more games and playing in state tournaments. Several St. Paul players have been chosen for elite state and traveling squads.

On a day last week, on a field near Hwy. 280 and Como Avenue, St. Paul competed well against teams with greater numbers from outside the city.

Mary Jean Loomis, grandmother of St. Paul player Ronan Lauber, admitted that what she lacks in knowledge about lacrosse’s rules — “I just know what goal they’re supposed to go to” — she makes up for with passion.

“This is my purpose, I holler and I scream,” she said laughing.

Patty Schmidt, whose son Danny is the St. Paul team’s 11-year-old goalie, said her boy was drawn to lacrosse after playing football, basketball, baseball and soccer.

“He’s found his niche,” she said.

Danny certainly seemed to on this day, turning away several point blank shots in the victory.

“This is what he really wants to do,” Schmidt said.

Tapio said the goal is to attract even more kids like Danny.

“We’re getting more visibility,” he said. “It’s where soccer was 20 years ago.”


James Walsh • 651-925-5041


  • related content

  • St. Paul’s Caedon Shannon tried to scoop up the ball with defenders behind him during a U13 lacrosse game against Hudson, Wis.

  • Coach Scott Tapio, above, said that the cost of the sport and the still fledgling identity has made it a hard sell in cities.

  • St. Paul and Hudson gave the traditional handshakes after a U13 lacrosse game. St. Paul Parks and Recreation is trying to build the sport.

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