New women’s club lacrosse team seeks recognition funding

This student-founded team is gaining traction


The women’s club lacrosse team at their first practice. Photo courtesy of Mary Wilson Grist.

Maggie Barker

The new women’s club lacrosse team is hosting weekly practice in an effort to gain funding from the school.

Mary Wilson Grist, ‘22, helped lead the charge this semester to get the team organized and off the ground.

“Ever since last year – freshman year – Tess Collard and I have been talking about how we missed high school sports and being on a team,” Grist said. “We had played with the idea of trying to start a club team, but we didn’t know how much interest there would be or if that would cause any problems with the current girls’ team.”

Collard and Grist found out this winter that there were other girls who had also wanted to start a club lacrosse team. Collard and Grist then began collaborating with Mary Kate Mahoney, Madelyn Sheridan, and Tyler Zidlicky, all ‘22, to start the team.

They set up a meeting right before Thanksgiving break with Margaret McClintock, the associate director of intramurals and adventure programs, to understand what the next steps would be.

“She talked us through the process and told us that the first thing we needed to do was show that there was actual interest,” Grist said. “So we set up a meeting and had over 20 people come to it, so we knew there was at least enough interest to have a team.”

Women’s lacrosse is played with 12 players on the field. A normal team is usually comprised of around 30 people.

The team had their first practice on Thursday, March 5, and around 25 people attended.

“For the rest of winter term and into spring, it’s just going to be everyone getting together. We just want to make sure that people are wanting to come back,” Collard said. “It’s not going to be super intense off the ground.”

The team practices every Thursday from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

“If we can have around 20 to 25 people coming consistently through spring term, it’ll make it easier in the fall to pick back up and make it competitive in terms of reaching out to play other teams and getting funding from the school,” Collard said.

Nearby schools like the University of Virginia, James Madison University and the University of Lynchburg have women’s club lacrosse teams.

McClintock was able to provide the team with some money to buy lacrosse balls because she has money set aside to help teams getting started. However, in the fall, the team will need to apply to be recognized by the Executive Committee of the Student Body in order to request offical funding from the committee.

“Right now, the biggest limitation on not having funding is that people can only play if they have their own equipment,” Grist said. “Also, once we do have funding, we would be able to get uniforms and maybe hire a coach and be able to form a more competitive team.”

Grist said she misses playing lacrosse outside during the spring and being together with other girls in a competitive atmosphere. She’s excited about being able to play again.

“There has been a guys’ team in the past, so we are excited to be able to give girls the same opportunity to be involved in a club sport and continue something that was maybe important to them in high school but on a less competitive level than playing for the actual team,” Grist said.

Collard said she misses playing lacrosse. “I played in high school and have always loved the sport, so I want to keep playing at W&L,” Collard said. “Club lacrosse is good because it’s a perfect balance between not-so-much commitment and being in touch with the sport.”

Bridget Bartley, ’21, is also excited about being able to play lacrosse with the women’s club lacrosse team. “I joined club lacrosse because I grew up playing the sport and am always jumping at any opportunity to pick up a stick again,” Bartley said. “I’m so excited to get to know the rest of the girls on the team and to see what the future holds for the program!”