ELDERSBURG — The gymnasium at Century High School was bustling Sunday afternoon with groups of young lacrosse players running through a series of stations that focused on different skills.
Each station was led by two or three current Knights’ varsity lacrosse players who participated in drills with the girls and offered instruction when necessary.
Century coach Becky Groves hosted the first day of her annual Century Girls Lacrosse Winter Clinic, where 55 players from kindergarten to eighth grade came to develop their individual and team skills in a structured, competitive environment.
Rose Pentz, Groves’ predecessor who led the Knights to five state championships from 2004 to 2010, started the clinic and Groves took over when she was hired in Pentz’s place as Century’s coach.
Groves is in her 13th year hosting the clinic and said the turnout has continued to grow between the winter and summer sessions.
“We try to use it as a preseason workout for the younger girls,” Groves said. “We want to get the sticks back in their hands. There’s not a lot of indoor space available and it’s cold, so a lot of kids aren’t going outside to play. This is a great opportunity for the girls to get a stick back in their hands before the season starts.”
Groves, who has guided the Knights to three state championships, said the players work on basic fundamentals and stick skills during station work and rotate to a new station about every 8-10 minutes. They will also participate in competitive games and scrimmage at the conclusion of the afternoon.
The Knights’ varsity lacrosse team members will also demonstrate a game-type setting for the girls, if time permits, Groves said. The clinic was supposed to start Saturday afternoon, but was postponed to Monday because of inclement weather.
“We hope they gain confidence in their skills and a love and passion for the game,” Groves said.
Abby Kristian, 13, has been attending Groves’ clinic for at least eight years and said she likes to have fun under the guidance of Knights’ current players.
“I wanted to work on my footwork and catching and throwing,” she said. “I think I’ve gotten a lot better at that from this clinic.”
Century senior Christina Haspert attended Groves’ clinic when she was younger and became a volunteer when she made the varsity team. Haspert said this clinic has helped make her the player she is today and she likes to assist in the development of the younger players so they can play at a higher level someday.
“One big thing I see is at the dodging station, while the girls are hanging their sticks, I’m on defense and I give them a little check to give them a mental note to say ‘Oh, I need to bring my stick in and protect it,’” she said. “The younger kindergarteners just hold their stick and they run with it, so getting them to bring it shoulder to shoulder is good.
“I think it’s great that when they look up to us, it makes us feel like we’re doing something good.”