Nine-year-old Hannah Howard may have been pleased with her left-handed stick skills, but she wanted to capitalize on those skills and make them better.
Hannah, along with 35-40 girls in grades 3-8 participated in Monday’s Winter Lacrosse Clinic, hosted by Manchester Valley girls lacrosse coach Shelly Brezicki at the Four Seasons Sports Complex.
The clinic consisted of two parts, a morning session for girls in grades 3-8 and an afternoon session for girls in grades 8-9. Brezicki enlisted in the help of Lizzie Colson, former Mavericks standout and three-time Times Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year, to help give back to the community. And in doing so, the clinic came to life.
“We really follow the same mentality that the basics are going to be what these kids need, it’s just a different level of basics,” Brezicki said. “With the younger age group, we’re going to focus a lot on stick work, focusing a lot on getting them to understand foot work, not being position specific. With the older group, though we’re still focusing on stick work and the basics, we want to give them the opportunity to learn a little bit more position specific things, more of the lacrosse IQ.”
Brezicki said the clinic provides the girls with an opportunity to prepare for their upcoming high school seasons, including those at the club and recreational levels. Colson and older sister Steph Colson, fellow Mavericks alumna Taylor Gress, and current Mavs senior Tayler Warehime also helped run the clinic’s drills and activities.
The Colson sisters were both crowned national champions for their respective collegiate teams this past spring.
Steph Colson, a junior at Gettysburg, scored the game-winning goal over The College of New Jersey as the Bullets captured the Division III national championship. Lizzie Colson, a sophomore at Maryland, helped the Terrapins defeat Boston College in the Division I title game earlier that afternoon, good for the Terps’ 13th national title victory.
“I think its super important to be able to come back and help,” Lizzie Colson said. “This is where I started, I started at the rec level so if I were in their shoes, I would think it’s so great to have a college level girl helping with the teams so it’s definitely important to come back and help. I think they get so much out of it; we both get so much out of it. I love working with the kids and it’s so rewarding when something finally clicks between you and them.
“They’re just learning so much, it’s an awesome experience to come back and help them and give back to the community that helped me get where I am today.”
Gress graduated from James Madison University in 2016 and played lacrosse for the Dukes. Gress and Steph Colson guided the girls individually through stick work while Lizzie Colson instructed from the center of the afternoon session.
The girls were each given a partner and stood on opposite ends of the indoor practice field as they practiced off-hand throwing and one-handed passing, utilizing their wrist strength to do so. They separated into passing drills shortly after.
Hannah Howard is a student at West Manheim Elementary School in Hanover, Pa., and said she has been playing lacrosse for at least five years. Receiving help from the former Mavericks standouts has been rewarding for her.
“It’s really fun because they’re taking some of their day to do this,” Hannah said. “They have other stuff to do but they canceled it so they could be here.”
Brezicki praised the county’s success across the board from other schools as young athletes from Carroll — and beyond — came out to be a part of the clinic Monday.
“What we care about is that lacrosse has benefited all of us off the field in a huge way and it has impacted our life beyond the success of scoring goals or stopping goals,” Brezicki said. “We want to give that to the kids no matter where they’re from — lacrosse is the type of sport where you’re going to get so much more out of it than just lacrosse.”