Youth Lacrosse

Passing the torch: Local helping build Copperheads program

by Chris Goltermann

alt

Rachel Skinner shows two participants of Saturday’s “Learn to Play” lacrosse clinic at East Coweta High School the proper method of handling a draw. The Copperheads program holds a second clinic this Saturday at 10 a.m., for boys and girls. 


In many ways, Rachel Skinner carried a torch among the first girls high school lacrosse players in Coweta County much the same way the former Newnan High standout did for a fledgling college program at Shorter University as its first-ever recruit.

Fresh off a summer that included competing as a member 2014 USA National European travel team, she’s now involved in passing that same torch to the next generation of girls players as girls’ director for the Copperhead Lacrosse program.

On Saturday, she could be found leading a group at the first of the Copperheads two free “Learn to Play” clinics that included athletes picking up a stick for the first time well prior to when Skinner did as a seventh-grader at Smokey Road Middle School.

The sport has thrived in the past eight years locally, first as a middle school sport and eventually channeling into the county’s three public high schools, providing an equal growth among scholarship opportunities.

Along with Skinner, the Copperheads are seeing their first group of college-level athletes working their way back into the youth program as coaches. Saturday’s clinic saw at least 40 boys and a half-dozen girls take the practice fields at East Coweta High School while getting a chance to get their first taste for the sport.

A second, free “Learn to Play” clinic is scheduled for this Saturday at ECHS at 10 a.m. Equipment is not necessary.

For Skinner, who played soccer and softball, ran cross country and swam before trying lacrosse, the chance to teach girls a sport she’s grown to love over the past seven years has been just as fulfilling as experiencing it as a player. Her family first came across a professional game while on vacation in Pennsylvania, with siblings and cousins also becoming standouts in high school and beyond.

“Coaching is something I would really like to do. I love doing this, teaching them the game. I would love to coach a college team someday. But right now we’re building this up right now,” she said. “Anybody can play lacrosse. Basketball players are great with their hand-eye coordination. Soccer players can run up and down the field with no problem. They usually pick it up really fast.”

After having to carry Shorter’s program at times during its infancy, playing in an international tournament this summer gave Skinner a chance to take her skills to a new level.

“It was a really great experience. When you get to the pro level from college, the play is just so different,” she said of the international experience. “We played our first game without really practicing. But our first game, the chemistry was just great. More than half of them from New York. I was the only one south of the Mason-Dixon line. So that was interesting. It was just great to play with people at such a high level like that.”



More Sports

NTH All-County Girls Lacrosse

Robertson, Coe share top honors in strong year for Lady Vikings

Northgate’s girls lacrosse team proved last year’s Coweta Cup championship wasn’t a fluke during the 2015 high school seas ... Read More


Coweta Sports Digest

Pittman helps Mercer reach NCAA Regionals

Morgan Pittman accepted an invitation to return to East Coweta last year during its annual Junior Indians Baseball Camp as one of several al ... Read More


High School Soccer

ECHS, Newnan prominent on All-Region 3-AAAAAA teams

East Coweta and Newnan soccer lineups are well represented on boys and girls All-Region 3-AAAAAA teams. For the girls, Newnan junior Carolin ... Read More


College Golf

Trevor Smith, Coastal Georgia win second straight national golf title

Newnan graduate Trevor Smith helped lead Coastal Georgia to its second straight NAIA National Men's Golf Championship at the Hills Course in ... Read More


College Softball

Coweta standouts contributing in NCAA Tournament

Former Northgate softball standout Ansley Smith and her Kentucky teammates face must-win situations today against Southeastern Conference ri ... Read More

Major League Baseball

Smith suspended 8 games as debate renewed about 'substance' rule for pitchers

Will Smith was back in the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen Friday night at Turner Field. But not after the Newnan pitcher's world got flipped and ... Read More