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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • USM coach seeking players for new lacrosse program

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  • When University of Saint Mary lacrosse coach Matt Kimsey was hired at the beginning of the summer, he was tasked with building a program from scratch.
    Three months later, the task is still at hand.
    Kimsey said he's been on the recruiting trail to ensure a full team takes the field once lacrosse season begins next spring.
    But, hitting the recruiting trail doesn't necessarily mean Kimsey has to leave the USM campus.
    The Spires lacrosse program has been drawing athletes from other USM sports.
    Kimsey said the skills required for lacrosse translate well to other sports, and vice-versa.
    "Lacrosse is kind of that culmination," Kimsey said. "You need that speed and agility, that strength. And, it's a smart sport, really intelligent sport. You have to be able to think out there, and not spend your time thinking, but be able to react quick."
    On Monday morning, Spires junior cross-country runner Lindee Clair walked into Kimsey's office to sign her official letter of intent to play lacrosse in the spring.
    Clair and sophomore runner Kristina Purinton were both recruited by Kimsey to become dual-sport athletes for USM.
    The cross-sport recruiting doesn't stop with the track team, however.
    Kelly Bromley, a 6-foot-5 freshman offensive lineman, is the lone football player on the lacrosse team's current roster. He said he received an email from the school this summer about joining the team and decided he'd give it a try after learning the program was offering extra scholarship money.
    "It seemed like something interesting to check out," Bromley said. "They were offering more scholarship money. It would be to my benefit to add an extra sport for some extra money to help with my schooling."
    When he joined, Kimsey had a small piece of advice for the offensive lineman with no lacrosse experience — trust in the wall.
    Wall ball is a training technique that entails a single player throwing a lacrosse ball against the wall and catching the rebound with his or her lacrosse stick.
    Kimsey said it's the easiest and best way for new players to gain familiarity with throwing and catching the ball.
    "You look at your top Major League Lacrosse players, they still spend two hours a day doing wall-ball," Kimsey said. "If you're a new player ... the wall's your best friend."
    The Spires are set to begin fall practice Sept. 1, when Kimsey will host an open tryout for USM students, and the first competition for the new program will be Sept. 20 when the men's team travels to Manhattan to scrimmage against Kimsey's alma-mater, Kansas State.
    He said at this time, wins and losses are the least important part of the program as he seeks to develop a strong culture surrounding the program. While it's a club sport this year, the USM lacrosse team will begin full varsity play next school year, making it the first varsity lacrosse program in Kansas.
    Page 2 of 2 - Until the varsity program kicks into full gear, Kimsey said the program is still seeking USM students to fill the roster and learn the sport.
    Those who join, Kimsey said, will have the chance to get in on the ground-floor of a historic moment for the University of Saint Mary.
    "I've been out around a couple places and people have seen me wearing a Saint Mary Lacrosse shirt," Kimsey said. "They're like, 'Hey, we've heard you're getting lacrosse, that's great.' ... It's kind of a cool opportunity for everybody coming in, we've got an awesome chance to really do some cool things."

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