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Lacrosse’s popularity reaches Redmond


The first form of lacrosse dates all the way back to the 12th century. Fast forward about 900 years and it’s now one of the most popular sports in the country, including here on the High Desert.

Running, throwing and hitting — words usually associated with football. But for athletes like Redmond Panthers freshman Will Nelson, who wants to do those things in the spring, there is lacrosse.

“When I first started, I was horrible,” Nelson said Friday. “I couldn’t catch from five feet away, I couldn’t pass anything, but I’m a lot better. I know the game a lot better, and it’s way more fun.”

Once Nelson joined, one of his friends quickly followed suit.

“He was like, ‘Hey I’m going to play lacrosse this year, want to try it out?’ recalled Brentley Biondi, a freshman on the Redmond lacrosse team. “We played football together and we’re good friends, so I was just like, ‘You know what? I’ll try it.’ So I tried it — and loved it.”

Redmond lacrosse also has a new coach, Dustin Williams, who’s working with many players who are brand new to the sport.

“Once you learn some of the basic core fundamentals, you really get excited about playing,” Williams said.

The fundamentals include learning how to handle the ball.

“It took me a good month and a half to learn it,” Biondi said. “Just practicing by myself, and working on it with the coaches. And especially doing it while running.”

Lacrosse is a free-flowing game, which allows players to be creative.

“In lacrosse, if you hit the ball away and it stays in-bounds, it’s still going,” Nelson said. “It basically never ends. It only ends if the ball goes out of bounds or if there’s a penalty, and so it’s a lot more physical demanding, because you’re nonstop running.”

Biondi loves the collisions.

“(An) energetic body check will energize your whole entire team and really get you going, or a good solid stick check that hits the ball out, it can change a possession,” Biondi said. “Those are always energetic.”

As a newer team, Redmond has been going through some predictable growing pains.

“As long as we go out and play the best we can play, and really work on getting better, so every day, every opportunity that we’re out here at practice, is just an opportunity to get better,” Williams said.

It doesn’t matter if you have played for years, months, weeks or just days, anyone can step right in and let it rip.

And it’s not just a sport for boys. With the help of his wife, Dustin Williams is hoping they can create a girls’ team next season.

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