Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

January 20, 2014

Lacrosse league, prep team coming together

By Brent Glasgow
Hendricks County Flyer

— With a projected practice start less than two months away, Brownsburg Youth Lacrosse founder Jason Koles is making a strong final registration push for elementary, middle and high school players.

Koles has hosted numerous free clinics locally over the past six months, and his initial mission was to establish a youth league split into three teams, one each for players in grades 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8. He has 12 total players signed up, about a third of the way to his goal of having 13 to 15 per team.

Registration is set to close Jan. 31. Potential players and their families can find most of the information they’d want online at www.brownsburglacrosse.com, but Koles invites anyone to contact him personally by either e-mailing to brownsburglax@gmail.com or calling 417-9518.

Around 25 youngsters showed up for the last clinic in November, which served as a simple introduction for most.

“Because we have so many kids that haven’t picked up a stick before, it gave us a chance to teach basic fundamentals,” Koles said. “Basically, it was like bringing baseball players in and playing catch for an hour and a half.”

Koles has done exhaustive legwork since last summer to make the league a reality. In addition to finding enough players, he also had to locate a playing venue, and Brownsburg’s Cornerstone Church offered a field on its property.

Koles said the church was impressed by the league’s commitment to community service, which will include efforts to stock its food pantry and other projects.

“We want to develop lacrosse players, but we want to develop good kids as well,” Koles said. “I think they saw that.”

At first, Koles thought the second phase of his work, creating a high school club team, would happen later. With apparent interest, it’s happening this spring. A kickoff meeting will be held Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Brownsburg High School auditorium, and all interested students and parents are asked to attend.

Much of the credit for the accelerated rate of progress goes to Brownsburg senior Austin Martin, who reached out to Koles in the fall. Martin told Koles he wanted to start a high school lacrosse team for his senior project.

“My jaw just kind of dropped,” Koles said.

Martin had performed his own in-school poll to gauge interest, and at a subsequent call-out meeting with Koles, close to 20 students showed up. At a free clinic before Thanksgiving featuring DePauw lacrosse coach Carl Haas, 40 area kids came, from Brownsburg, Avon, Plainfield and Danville. There, Koles told attendees that because of the time he spends on the youth league, he needed a parent to step up to lead the prep squad.

Bill Behrend, father to Brownsburg sophomore and player, Ben, did so. And with the sponsorship of Hendricks Regional Health, things have moved along nicely.

“We’re in much better shape now,” Koles said.

The sponsorship came thanks to Hendricks Regional CEO Kevin Speer, who’s been intimately involved in lacrosse’s growth in the Indianapolis area.

“He thought it was a travesty that there was no lacrosse in Hendricks County, and he wanted to help fix that,” Koles said. “He heard about me through the grapevine, and we eventually connected. He’s every bit as passionate as I am about it.”

Along with financial help to purchase equipment, the partnership also seeks to introduce Koles and the league to chambers of commerce and other entities that could help it prosper.

“It’s not just a monetary thing,” Koles said. “It really is based on growing the sport.”

— Follow Hendricks County Flyer sports writer Brent Glasgow on Twitter @BGlasgow37.