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Raiders girls lax holds first alumni game

By JAMES A. McCRAY III

Staff writer

“We’ve all come a long way, but we all started at the same point,” said 2009 Leonardtown High School graduate Kimmy Becker.

Becker was the organizer of the first-ever Leonardtown Raiders girls lacrosse alumni game played in conjunction with the annual boys alumni game on Aug. 4.

And all of Becker’s work in contacting ex-players, mainly via Facebook, culminated in 25 girls, at least one representing every graduating class from 2003 through 2012, meeting on the Leonardtown field.

“I thought it would be a great idea for the girls to get together at least once a year because a lot of us have not seen each other since we went off to college,” Becker said. “It was a good opportunity to catch up and get all of our skills together.”

Asked about what took so long for an alumni game to come together, Becker added, “Honestly, a lot of girls moved away, either to college or they are much older, so they aren’t around here anymore. I guess it was just waiting for someone to put it together.”

Becker was part of the odd-year graduating team coached by current Leonardtown head girls lacrosse coach Ken McIlhenny that defeated the even-year graduating team headed by Leonardtown assistant coach Mike Denny, 9-8. Denny was the Raiders’ head coach for nine seasons until 2008.

Ashleigh Williams, a 2003 graduate, was the eldest player in the alumni game and despite that admitted that the players did not tease her about her age, yet another group of fans watching the game did.

“Some of the parents of the players who were at the game were giving me grief, but it was nice,” said Williams, who coaches club lacrosse in the county.

Williams admitted that she enjoyed running around on the same fields she used to nearly 10 years ago.

“Being one of the first people from the program to graduate, it was kind of nice to see how it has evolved and how many people are playing, still playing and going off to play in college and how much it has developed in the past nine to 10 years now,” Williams said.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was 2012 graduate Krista Frowein.

Frowein was a member of the 2012 Raiders girls lacrosse program, which advanced the furthest it ever has in program history.

“It was pretty interesting because you got to see all the different generations of players come back,” Frowein said. “Some of the girls, I didn’t even know because they went back that far. It was nice to be back with coach Mac and coach Denny one last time before we all went our separate ways.”

All of the players admit that the game was played with a fun attitude, a much different feel than when they normally step on the field against SMAC opponents and a much different feel from the intensity of a playoff game.

“It was actually more fun than anything,” Frowein said. “It wasn’t intense at all. Playing against people you have and haven’t played with, it was fun. … It was like a play rivalry between Denny and Mac and they were making it fun for us. It was more of a fun experience rather than an intense one.”

Becker admits she wants to continue organizing the game and is hoping for larger turnouts as the years continue.

“I am going to try to keep running it,” Becker said. “I hope to just be able to keep it together. Since we use Facebook as a main source of communication, I can [organize it] from anywhere.”

And as all of the players left their respective graduating years with high school memories, after Aug. 4, they all left with new memories.

“It was a fun experience and I [was] definitely glad that we got to do it,” Williams said. “I am hoping that next year that we will be able to have the same kind of [game] and maybe a bigger turnout.”

Frowein said her best memory was “probably playing with the girls and coaches one last time. Even before I started high school, Mac has been my coach. It was interesting to have a closure game, where you could enjoy the experience before you go off.”

jmccray@somdnews.com