Already known near and far for its Carroll Dragons football team, award-winning athletic programs and amazing student athletes, Southlake is also quickly becoming known as a lacrosse town. This is evidenced by the recent opening of two lacrosse retail stores in the city, as well as the opening of North Park in September 2012 which offers three fields dedicated to lacrosse and flag football. More significantly, it is the players themselves who are raising awareness of the sport: The 7/8 Lady Dragons Lacrosse Team defeated Highland Park and Keller to win the 2013 North Texas Youth Lacrosse League state championship.
Although lacrosse is not new to Southlake, its popularity has increased significantly in the past few years. According to Eric Stein, manager of Lacrosse Unlimited in The Shops of Southlake, Texas is one of the fastest-growing states for the game.
“Lacrosse is rapidly expanding in Texas, California and Florida. Select and travel teams from Southlake are competing in tournaments in the northeast [where the sport is prominent],” says Stein, noting the Southlake location is one of only two in the state. “Since opening in March, we have been drawing customers from Keller, Flower Mound, Coppell and Fort Worth.”
Leading the local charge for youth players is the Southlake Carroll Lacrosse Association (SCLA), which was established in 2000. Although not a UIL sanctioned sport, SCLA works with the city and school athletic departments for programs and player recruitment. According to its website, SCLA sponsors 20 teams (15 youth and 5 high school) encompassing approximately 350 young athletes. SCLA has teams for boys in grades 1-8, junior varsity and varsity; and girls in grades 5-8, junior varsity and varsity. During the fall and spring seasons, SCLA teams participate in more than 300 games.
Lacrosse was originated by the North American Indian and is considered to be America’s first sport. The game is now played by two 10-member teams using a stick, called the crosse, to send the ball into each other’s goal. Players must master the ability to throw, catch and scoop the ball. A combination of basketball, soccer and hockey, quickness and speed are two highly prized qualities in lacrosse.
Neal Dibello, who played goalie for Princeton University, is a SCLA coach and offers a summer program for grades 3-8 called FasTrac Lacrosse, which includes a 45 minute clinic and 45 minute game. In addition, he will host a clinic for grades 9 and up on Sunday, June 16. Dibello teaches box lacrosse, a hockey or basketball style game played in a smaller space with 5 players plus goalies on each team.
“I have a huge passion for the game and want to grow the sport here,” says Dibello, who is originally from Syracuse, New York. “Texans love aggressive sports and have a competitive nature which is why I think it has become so popular. Natural athletes excel at lacrosse.”
In addition to Lacrosse Unlimited, TeamLAX Sporting Goods opened in January at 1101 East State Highway 114. Both stores carry a complete line of lacrosse equipment and apparel for men and women.
“We individually string each head with custom colors. This is a huge deal in lacrosse because the more individual the stick, the better you play,” explains Stein, noting the staff is very active in the sport.
For more information about lacrosse, go to www.southlakelacrosse.org or www.uslacrossentx.org.
After a nationwide search, the Southlake Carroll Lacrosse Association is pleased to announce that Bart Sullivan, 2012 Assistant Coach of the Year in Denver Colorado, has signed with the Association to serve as the Boys Varsity Head Coach. Mr. Sullivan will also serve as the Association’s Director of Lacrosse. SCLA is also pleased to announce that Josh Pico, Nick Bumpass, Neal Dibello and Delano Carneiro will complete the Boys High School coaching staff.
“My family and I are very excited to move to Texas and join the Southlake community,” said Bart Sullivan. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to lead the Southlake Carroll High School and Youth Lacrosse Programs. Our goal will be to use lacrosse as a means to build courage, work ethic, leadership, teamwork, competitive spirit, and life-long friendships amongst our players. I am honored for the chance to work with such a great staff including Josh Pico, Nick Bumpass, Neal Dibello, Carneiro Delano and all of the other SCLA youth and high school coaches.”
While at Arapahoe High School in Denver, Bart Sullivan coached his team to a 19-0 record and a State Championship in 2012. He also served as Director of Training for 3d Lacrosse in Denver. 3d Lacrosse runs tournaments, camps and Elite Travel teams throughout the country.
From 2010 to 2011, Bart Sullivan served as the Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, where he also served as an assistant coach for two seasons. Under Sullivan’s leadership, the Knights posted the best record in program history since moving to a full D-I schedule.
Prior to Bellarmine, Sullivan had coaching stops at Denison University in 2007 and at his alma mater, the University of Denver, in 2008. As an assistant at Denison, he helped the Big Red to an 11-4 record and an appearance in the Division III NCAA tournament, the 15th appearance in the program’s history.
After just one season at Denison, Sullivan went back to Denver to help coach the Pioneers to a 10-7 record and another birth into the GWLL tournament. The Pioneers went on to compete in the NCAA tournament for the second time in the school’s history.
As a player, Sullivan was a standout member of the men’s lacrosse team at the University of Denver from 2003-2006. Playing in 59 games and starting the final 31 games of his career on defense while helping the Pioneers to three Great Western Lacrosse League Championships including the school’s first outright title in 2006. In his senior season, Sullivan was named team captain and went on to help Denver earn their first ever NCAA tournament berth. As a junior he was named the team’s Defensive MVP and was a member of 2005 Face-Off Classic All-Tournament team. Recently he has been named to the University of Denver Lacrosse All-Decade Team.
Sullivan graduated from the University of Denver in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts of in mathematics. Bart, his wife, and their son are moving to North Texas at the end of August.
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