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

Shooting suspect arrested

Teen charged in Glenn Street incident

An 18-year-old man suspected of shooting another man in the chest last weekend was arrested by authorities with the Newnan Police Department ... Read More


High School Baseball

Johnson sharp as Cougars shake off rust in win

Newnan may have needed three innings to shake off the rust in Friday’s 6-2 road win over Chapel Hill following a six-day layoff. But j ... Read More


Vikings rout Dutchtown; Indians fall to Starr’s Mill

Northgate improved its record to 2-2 Friday with a 12-1 victory over Dutchtown on the road Friday in McDonough in a game called after six in ... Read More


High School Spring Sports

Northgate drops tennis openers to Starr’s Mill

After having matches rained out twice earlier this week, Northgate tennis teams finally got their season under way Thursday, losing to tough ... Read More


GISA state basketball

Hawks, Lions bow out in first round

Heritage School and Trinity Christian boys teams had respective 2014-15 basketball seasons come to an end in the opening round of the GISA C ... Read More

High School Soccer

EC gets back on field in split with Houston Co.

Mother Nature hasn’t been a best friend to East Coweta soccer teams so far this season. Despite starting the year nearly three weeks a ... Read More