College of Southern Maryland Explores Addition of Lacrosse

It's face-off time as the College of Southern Maryland looks to launch lacrosse at the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) collegiate level in Southern Maryland. With lacrosse one of the fastest-growing sports and few options for college-bound high school athletes to play locally, bringing lacrosse to CSM will provide Southern Maryland students opportunities to continue academic and athletic careers close to home.

"Strong programs exist in Calvert and St. Mary's county high schools, and now that lacrosse has expanded with Charles County teams moving into SMAC (Southern Maryland Athletic Conference) competition, the natural progression is to provide the opportunity for students to play at the collegiate level while attending community college in Southern Maryland," said CSM's Athletic Director Michelle Ruble. CSM would play at the Division I level of NJCAA.

Community support has been immediate. Joining the effort as an MVP, Old Line Bank is the first major sponsor, designating $10,000 to athletics towards the launch of lacrosse.

"Old Line is delighted to support athletics programs such as lacrosse at CSM. Sports bring people together and team sports help build leadership skills and a sense of working toward shared goals-traits that are so important to employers," said Old Line Bank Executive Vice President Chris Rush.

"Good schools are centerpieces of a good community and we are happy to support CSM," said The St. Charles Companies Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Craig Renner, in presenting $1,500 to the lacrosse program from proceeds from the St. Charles Running Festival sponsored by Lennar, Chick-fil-A of Charles County and The St. Charles Companies.

Chesapeake Beach Resort & Spa has donated $1,500 to bring lacrosse to CSM.

"We have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of interest in the program and support from local families," said Michelle Goodwin, vice president of advancement. "We set a fundraising goal of $50,000 to help get the program off the ground and have raised $12,500 so far."

For every community dollar donated, the CSM Foundation will match-up to $25,000, with inaugural year sponsorships available from $50 to $15,000.

"Once sufficient funds are raised, we will be able to move forward and hire a coaching staff. Our goal is to begin recruiting in 2013 in order to stand up a NJCAA men's lacrosse team for the 2014 season, followed by recruiting and developing a women's lacrosse team a year after that," said Ruble.

Lacrosse is one of the nation's fastest-growing team sports with more than 680,000 players participating, according to the 2011 U.S. Lacrosse Participation Survey. High school players topped 275,000 in 2011. Lacrosse is also expanding at the college level, with colleges throughout the U.S. adding programs: 30 new varsity programs in 2012 and 48 set to begin in 2013. Maryland ranks first among states with the most lacrosse players. CSM's teams would be registered to play in the NJCAA Division I program.

2012-08-30



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