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The official Division I athletic teams at Radford University are the ones that get the most recognition. What most people don’t realize is that RU has dozens of sports clubs and organizations that compete on a very high level as well. RU Women’s Lacrosse is one of those clubs.
This year is the team’s fifth as an established club.
“The team’s getting better every year, this year especially,” senior club president Caitlin Francis said. “We have a lot of great rookies. We have our biggest rookie class ever this year.”
One of the recent accomplishments was the team moving into the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Lacrosse League. The MAWLL is made up of 24 other schools club teams, which are split up into different regions. Appalachian State University, Elon University, and University of North Carolina accompany Radford in the western region. Other notable teams in the league are Duke University, NC State University, James Madison University, Georgetown University, and William & Mary University.
Although the main season starts in the early spring, the team has been getting as much experience and practice as possible so far this semester. They have an overall record of 6-5 and are undefeated at home. They still have four months until their larger spring tournament season begins in February.
Despite their hard work and determination on the field, the Highs make an impact off the field as well. In early October they hosted a tournament called Lax for Tatas. RU Club Lacrosse swept the tournament, winning all three of their games by a combined score of 28-14. In addition to dominating their opponents, they raised nearly $800, which was donated to breast cancer research.
The Lax for Tatas tournament was a family-oriented event with food, music, and lacrosse, of course. Sophomore Goalkeeper Rehn West had a different, emotionally driven view on the tournament in comparison to others. West’s mother is a breast cancer survivor that has been cancer-free for almost two years. She came out to the tournament and spread love and joy to the families and fans.
Along with her off the field strength, West is a force to be reckoned with in between the goal posts as well. She’s ranked seventh in the nation among club lacrosse goalies. Characteristically, she is determined to improve.
“I’ll just try to get that number down to lower than seventh,” West said with a grin.
West and her teammates agree that being a club sport has hardships along with its rewards. Unlike Division I sports, clubs are mostly all student-run organizations with the exception of the occasional head coach (although some clubs don’t even have this, just club presidents and vice presidents). Very little, if any, money is provided by the university, meaning that the president and other club leaders must raise money and place orders for jerseys, equipment, and other amenities on their own.
“Each year we’ve progressed and gotten our name out there, more teams have wanted to play us, and there’s been more connections,” Francis said.
But Francis didn’t take all of the credit. When asked about the other leaders, Francis spoke about their volunteer head coach Craig Cope.
“He really helps us in choosing starters and switching people in and out on games,” Francis said. “It’s a lot for a president and a vice president to take everything. So it’s great to have him there and he’s a great support for this team.”
Other than leadership, the Highs have plenty of skill as well. Freshmen Brittany Peddicord and Jenna Weinberg are menaces with the stick. They both had hat tricks at the tournament against NC State. Other goal scorers included Kelli Grant and Alyssa Tompkins.
The Highs step onto the field again on the weekend of Nov. 12 for a tournament at Eastern Carolina University.