by Dennis Dalman
When Kristina Kirick of Sartell watched her older brothers play lacrosse, she always thought it might be fun to play so she gave it a try and sure enough it was.
That was five years ago. Now, as a Sartell High School senior, Kirick plays defense for the Stormin’ Sabres, a team comprised of girls from both Sauk Rapids-Rice and Sartell schools. The name “Stormin’ Sabres” is derived from the schools’ names for their sports – Sauk Rapids-Rice Storm and Sartell Sabres.
“I love being part of the team,” said Kirick, the daughter of Jean and Dan Kirick. “The team is kind of like my second family. We play about two games a week, until the end of May or early June.”
There are about 65 girls, both schools total, who play lacrosse, Kirick noted.
Some people do a double-take when a young woman says she plays lacrosse. Most have heard of the sport but are not sure exactly what it is or how it’s played. That’s not surprising as last year was the first year lacrosse began to be played as a school varsity sport by Sartell-Sauk Rapids-Rice participants. Before that, it was played as a club sport.
Lacrosse originated, perhaps as a form of tribal ritual, as early as 1,000 years ago among the Iroquois Native Americans, who lived in the northeast United States and parts of eastern Canada. Many do not know that lacrosse – not hockey – is the national sport of Canada. The sport was witnessed by Jesuit missionaries who came to the New World in the 1600s. Since then, the game has gone through many changes.
Lacrosse is a contact sport played between two teams using a small rubber ball about 2.5 inches wide and a long-handled stick called a “crosse” or “lacrosse stick.” On its lower end the stick has a loose mesh net in which to capture and propel the rubber ball.
The goal of lacrosse is to propel the ball into a goal past the goalie, much like a puck in hockey. The game and its rules can vary depending on who is playing it, including different versions for men and women. In women’s lacrosse, for example, the game does not promote much physical contact, mainly because protective gear is comprised of only goggles and a mouth guard.
Besides the goggles and mouth guards, Kirick and her teammates wear black skirts, white or blue tops with green numbers and cleated shoes for traction. They can also wear gloves if they so choose.
A game, Kirick said, lasts about an hour: 25 minutes, then a half time, then another 25 minutes.
One of Kristina’s brothers, Nicholas, 26, is the Sartell Sabres’ boys’ team lacrosse coach.
“Lacrosse is kind of like a mixture of hockey and soccer, in a way,” Kristina said. “We play on a huge field, (as) big as a soccer field, and there’s a lot of running involved.”
Last year, the Stormin’ Sabres’ girls’ lacrosse team got somewhat close to going to state competition. Naturally, Kirick and her teammates are hoping they’ll get even closer to going this year.
Besides lacrosse, Kirick is involved in karate, basketball, dance and choir. She also babysits and works part-time at Clearwater Travel Plaza. Her favorite school subject is math. She is ready next fall to start college at North Dakota State University where she will study finance and – yes indeed – play on the college lacrosse team.
The Sartell-Sauk Rapids-Rice roster for girls lacrosse players this season is as follows: Kate Bunde, Izzy Bukovich, Megan Cook, Sadie Folsom, McKenzie Froiland, Kat Gent, Bre Hess, Lydia Johnson, Mollie Joseph, Grace Jourd, Kirick, Maggie Kulus, Lauren Lindmeier, Kaylee Lodermeier, Maddie Molner, Megan Mohr, Avery Mumm, Sara Schad, Taylor Scherer and Ella Steinberg.
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.