Florida Loads Up on Locals
Gators' Inaugural Roster Full of Area Players
By Dave Yanovitz
Special to the Washington Post
Friday, June 26, 2009
On one sport's home page at the University of Florida's athletic Web site, there is a countdown clock, ticking off the hours, minutes and seconds to a highly anticipated season opener. The defending national champion football team? No. The men's basketball team, winners of two of the past four NCAA tournaments? Nope.
In 238 days, women's lacrosse, whose genesis in this country dates 83 years ago to the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, will make its varsity debut in a state where running backs and baseball players have long dominated the collegiate sporting landscape.
The Gators will open at home against Jacksonville -- and a host of Washington and Baltimore area players are poised to form the nucleus of the Gators' inaugural team. Florida will jump directly to Division I and play in the American Lacrosse Conference, a league that includes five-time defending national champion Northwestern and Johns Hopkins; until now, the Gators only had a club lacrosse team.
Of the 12 girls' lacrosse players named first-team All-Met by The Post this spring (out of about 2,000 in the Washington area who competed on the varsity level), four have chosen to play in Gainesville.......................
The NCAA began crowning a women's lacrosse champion in 1982, but not a single college or university in the state of Florida offered Division I lacrosse until now. Florida and Jacksonville University will begin play in 2010.
Lynda Tealer, senior associate athletic director for women's sports at Florida, said the university has had a goal for a number of years of "the continuing expansion of athletic opportunities for women," as outlined in Title IX.