On the History of Lacrosse and Our ASU Team

Helen Smith
The Paw Print

The first American sport, lacrosse, is here at Adams State for its third season. Head coach John McCreery recently shared some of the history of the sport as well as his thoughts on the program.

Lacrosse originated with five nations of Indians in early America, predating European arrival. Lacrosse was given its name from early French settlers. According to the United States Lacrosse Association, the early information about the sport is scant at best.  There were three varieties that were played by Indian tribes in different regions of the United States, the Southeastern, Great Lakes, and Iriqouian. The Southeastern region included tribes such as the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminoles. The Great Lakes region included the Ojibwe, Meniomee, Potowami, Souk, Fox, Miami, Winnebago, Santee, and Dakota. Finally, the Iriqouis had a style all their own. Teams were almost exclusively male.

The first white interest in the game came about in 1834 when the Caughnawa Indians played an exposition game in Montreal. In 1876, New York University became the first United States institute to have Lacrosse as a sport. Soon, the sport gained the attention of notable figures such as Britain’s Queen Victoria. This is just a snapshot of the sport we have today, which is very physical and arranged on the field much like soccer, with ten players on each side.

The team here at Adams State is one of only four programs currently established in the west, under the banner of the Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association. Other schools in the WILA include Dominican University in San Rafael, Calif., and Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colo., with plans to add Rockhurst Jesuit University to the list next season.

The players on the roster represent thirteen states including Washington, California, and Pennsylvania, as well as Canada. Coach Mcreery stated “we’re building something special.” Mcreery went on to say that, although the team is young and lacks experience, the players are learning the value of discipline and have done an outstanding job displaying sportsmanship and rebounding from loss. McCreery feels that this season will be the building block for a strong season next year, “the base of the pyramid.” The coaches for ASU Lacrosse feel strongly that next season will be theirs, and that this season can help propel them to a successful run.

John Mcreery grew up in the Bay Area around San Francisco, and grew up in the sport of lacrosse. After a brief career in football and lacrosse at the Division 3 level, Mcreery took his first head coaching job at the age of nineteen due to injury. McCreery has coached at the University of Mississippi as well as the University of Santa Cruz, before coming to Adams State as assistant coach in 2011. McCreery took the position after Jason Lambs’ departure for Notre Dame. McCreery loves lacrosse, and enjoys the interactive and teaching aspects of coaching.

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