Due to phenomenal support provided by community partners within the past month, the College of Southern Maryland is a few dollars and weeks away from launching lacrosse at the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) collegiate level in Southern Maryland. With lacrosse among 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 as they compete at the Division I level of NJCAA.
“We appreciate the community support of our athletic teams and the college,” said CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried.” CSM's athletic program is something in which all of Southern Maryland can be proud, and not just for the wins and titles. It's about how our students are growing into productive citizens and as student athletes the collegiality, sportsmanship, and academic achievement that they demonstrate. With the commitment provided by our community, businesses and organizations, we will be able to grow and enhance our athletic program through the addition of men's and women's lacrosse teams.”
Among the most recent to provide funding for the college to field the sport is Quality Built Homes, Inc. which has given $10,000, which includes support for scholarships as well as for the launch of lacrosse.
The college has done an excellent job in enhancing the student experience at the community college. CSM has an excellent program that helps all of Southern Maryland, by providing great two-year programs and connections with other colleges and universities for the student to complete the bachelors degree, said Rodney Gertz, vice president of Quality Built Homes, Inc. Sports offer a lot of analogies that are synonymous with success in academics and in the workplace. As athletes, the students will find they will be making many similar decisions as they do on the playing field, assessing the risks before committing to a decision, or practicing for success. We at Quality Built Homes are delighted to be able to be a part of this exciting new program at CSM, and to promote athletics and education at the same time as we build a strong program right here in our hometown.
Also providing major support during the recent online Big Give fundraiser for the launch of lacrosse was Marrick Homes Vice President Rick Bailey Jr., Benedict Metal Works, Inc. and William McGee of Outdoor Creations.
Lacrosse is an increasingly popular sport, especially now at the high school level within Southern Maryland. With so many more student athletes wanting to continue playing lacrosse while in college, it is important for CSM to provide a program in order to meet the demand of students who want to receive a quality education close to home while participating in athletic programs that are current with our times. With CSMs strong reputation for excellence, Im excited to be able to be part of launching this program and to help future lacrosse players grow to their next academic and athletic levels at CSM, said Bailey.
With Charles County's high schools now fielding lacrosse programs, and so many of these high school girls and boys athletes looking to play at the college level, were glad to be a part of bringing lacrosse to CSM. It's important that these students have options close to home so they can continue their college degree locally while learning team skills on the field that will benefit them when they enter the workforce, McGee said.
We have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of interest in the program and support from our partners and local families. Even during our recent online Big Give event, lacrosse had amazing support, with donations coming in at all levels. We know this is something our entire community is excited about when we see $10 gifts coming in from those who cant wait to see lacrosse at CSM, said Michelle Goodwin, vice president of advancement.
When the college announced its intentions to launch the sport if community support was achieved, the response was immediate, Goodwin said, with Old Line Bank as the first major sponsor, designating $10,000 to athletics towards the launch of lacrosse. Others who were immediate supporters to bring lacrosse to CSM are Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa which donated $2,000, and the St. Charles Companies which presented $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.
We set a fundraising goal of $50,000 to help get the program off the ground and we have less than $600 to raise to move to the next step of registering with the NJCAA, Goodwin said. For every community dollar donated, the CSM Foundation is matching 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 mens lacrosse team for the 2014 season, followed by recruiting and developing a womens lacrosse team a year after that, said Lead Director of Student Life and Athletics Michelle Ruble.
Lacrosse is one of the nations 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. CSMs teams would be registered to play in the NJCAA Division I program.
Those who have made donations in support of the launch of lacrosse at CSM are: Old Line Bank, Quality Built Homes, Inc., Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa, St. Charles Companies, Benedict Metal Works, Inc. and CSM Foundation, as well as individuals Erika Abell, Rick Bailey, Kris Bayer, Bill Comey, Jennifer Everhart, Judi Ferrara, Jon S. Frank, Michelle Goodwin, Brenda Harbold, Bonnie Harrison, Kathryn Hupp, Laura Hupp, Colleen L. Joffe, Margaret Jones, Janice Love, Andrew Lundeen, William McGee, Randall Sawyer, Karen Smith Hupp, Tonya Stanley, Christina Thompson and Helena Yates. Lacrosse supporters that helped CSM raise money during the BIG Give were Chesapeake Bayhawks Lacrosse Team and the University of Maryland Men's Lacrosse Team.
To support lacrosse at CSM or receive the latest updates, register at www.csmd.edu/LAX.