Toward downtown Woodinville, on 140th Ave NE, a giant billboard stands like a beacon for Woodinville Lacrosse.
With the impending arrival of spring, another season is set to begin.
The Woodinville Lacrosse Club, now entering its 5th season, is experiencing high enrollment numbers from kindergarten all the way through high school.
In recent years, the exploding popularity of lacrosse in Woodinville has been obvious.
But one reason for the current boom times has been the reverberations from last summer’s West Coast Showcase.
That was the prestigious tournament won by the Woodinville’s 7/8s in the Bay Area last July.
As the expression goes, “to the victor go the spoils”. And by winning that tourney’s U-15 Gold Division, Woodinville Lacrosse received some great PR.
According to booster Gary Bamesberger, that notoriety is causing people to relocate.
“Microsoft parents are moving out here to Woodinville,” Bamesberger said. “They say their kids are into lacrosse, or they are into lacrosse and want their kids to grow up in a lacrosse community. We literally fielded 5-6 calls last summer from people who saw news stories related to that championship game, and they go to our website and see what we’re doing.
“We get calls, and I can tell you that three of those families moved to Woodinville and their kids are going to Woodinville schools. Mainly it’s because one of the ingredients important to them was our lacrosse program.”
While the 7/8s team excelled in 2013, the Falcons high school program is still experiencing growing pains. Under second year coach Gavin Molitor, Woodinville is still playing catch-up to the powerhouse programs of the Eastside — Mercer Island, Issaquah and especially Bellevue.
“Bellevue is the defending State champ,” Bamesberger said. “They’re ranked 49th in the nation. Yes, they’re really good. To be honest, we’re probably still another couple of years away from being able to compete directly with them. We’re still filling it up.
“On our high school varsity team, there are only four seniors this year. But there are nine juniors and the rest of the roster is filled out by freshmen and sophomores.”
But the belief that success will come stems from the emphasis placed on Woodinville’s feeder programs.
As evidenced by the giant billboard on 140th Ave NE, the program is being built from the ground up.
“The K-2 program is for kindergarten through the second grade,” Bamesberger said. “The kids come out on Sunday afternoons. We hand them a stick and put a mouth guard in them, and we don’t put helmets on them. We go out there and have fun! We have high school kids coaching them and we use a softball.
“I already have over 30 kids in there this year. We play on turf and if the weather gets heinous weather then we cancel.
“Kids can still register this Spring for K-2,” he said. “Our other programs are now closed.
“But the K-2 program is a great way to get a taste for lacrosse and with a minimal cost to see if your kids like it.”
For more information, go to WoodinvilleLacrosse.com.