Apple Valley’s Reagan Roelofs is one of nine Minnesota prep lacrosse players headed for top-15 college programs. Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune
1 College-bound players
Minnesota’s contribution to the college game includes nine Division I-committed seniors, featuring Reagan Roelofs of Apple Valley (Navy) and Blake’s Sophie Skallerud (Dartmouth), headed to programs ranked among the top 15 in the nation. Among boys, three seniors are headed to programs of similar stature: Jadon Kerry of Chanhassen (Duke), Porter Awad of Eastview (Vermont) and Spencer Sande of Holy Angels (Johns Hopkins). Two members of the junior class will join them in 2019: Eden Prairie’s Collin Penn (Rutgers) and Minnetonka’s Andrew DiFrancesco (Denver). The current ebb and flow of recruiting is more about quality than quantity as Minnesota develops as a lacrosse state. “It doesn’t seem like as many signings as years past, but these are all quality guys who will stick it out with good college programs,” Eden Prairie boys’ coach Ryan Ward said. “They aren’t just going to be the 55th players on the rosters.”
2 Outstate growth
Brainerd boys’ and girls’ lacrosse joins the Minnesota State High School League ranks this spring, an example of the sport’s growth beyond the metro area. The Brainerd teams will play an independent schedule. They were added to Section 8 for the postseason, along with such teams as Maple Grove, Sartell/Sauk Rapids and St. Cloud Area. The move from club status to varsity became necessary, Brainerd activities director Charlie Campbell said, as fewer club teams remained to play. “I’ve definitely been getting positive feedback because people are so happy to see the growth of the sport continue,” Campbell said. Meanwhile, Moorhead is working toward adding varsity lacrosse next season. The school could present a proposal to the school board in June. “There’s a demand there, and it’s our job to answer that,” Moorhead athletic director Dean Haugo told Chris Murphy of the Forum newspaper. “We think we have the numbers to not only field a team but to sustain it.”
3 Positive coaching cycle
Five former Minnesota girls’ high school lacrosse players return to the scene as new coaches this spring. Their college experience ranges from local club teams to Division I. Their choice to return and coach is a positive for the growing sport, said Alexandra Ross, Apple Valley coach and president of the girls’ high school lacrosse coaches association. New Breck coach Hannah Riggs graduated from Eden Prairie and played at Longwood (Va.) University. Paige Gardiner returns to her alma mater of Minnetonka after playing on the University of St. Thomas club team. Ashley Maskel followed a similar path, playing at Eastview and coming back to coach the Lightning after playing on the Hamline University club team. And Osseo-Park Center co-coaches Nora Vee and Ali Nelson are back on the prep scene. Vee played at Lakeville North and for the Minnesota Duluth club team. Nelson played at Maple Grove and Concordia (Moorhead).