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Community donors pitch in to make it possible

Due to support from community partners within the past month, the College of Southern Maryland is now just a few dollars and weeks away from launching lacrosse at the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) collegiate level in Southern Maryland.

With lacrosse among the fastest-growing sports and few options for college-bound high school athletes to play locally, bringing lacrosse to CSM will provide Southern Maryland students opportunities to continue academic and athletic careers close to home as they compete at the Division I level of NJCAA.

“We appreciate the community support of our athletic teams and the college,” said CSM President Brad Gottfried in a press release. “CSM’s athletic program is something in which all of Southern Maryland can be proud, and not just for the wins and titles. It‘s about how our students are growing into productive citizens and as student athletes the collegiality, sportsmanship, and academic achievement that they demonstrate. With the commitment provided by our community, businesses and organizations, we will be able to grow and enhance our athletic program through the addition of men‘s and women‘s lacrosse teams.”

Among the most recent to provide funding for the college to field the sport is Quality Built Homes Inc., which has given $10,000, which includes support for scholarships as well as for the launch of lacrosse.

Also providing major support during the recent online Big Give fundraiser for the lacrosse launch was Marrick Homes Vice President Rick Bailey Jr., Benedict Metal Works Inc. and William McGee of Outdoor Creations.

“Lacrosse is an increasingly popular sport, especially now at the high school level within Southern Maryland, “ Bailey said in the release. “With so many more student athletes wanting to continue playing lacrosse while in college, it is important for CSM to provide a program in order to meet the demand of students who want to receive a quality education close to home while participating in athletic programs that are current with our times. With CSM’s strong reputation for excellence, I’m excited to be able to be part of launching this program and to help future lacrosse players grow to their next academic and athletic levels at CSM.”

When the college announced its intentions to launch the sport if community support was achieved, the response was immediate, Goodwin said, with Old Line Bank as the first major sponsor, designating $10,000 to athletics towards the launch of lacrosse. Others who were immediate supporters to bring lacrosse to CSM are Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa, which donated $2,000, and the St. Charles Companies, which presented $1,500 to the lacrosse program from proceeds from the St. Charles Running Festival sponsored by Lennar, Chick-fil-A of Charles County and the St. Charles Companies.

“Once sufficient funds are raised, we will be able to move forward and hire a coaching staff. Our goal is to begin recruiting in 2013 in order to stand up a NJCAA men’s lacrosse team for the 2014 season, followed by recruiting and developing a women’s lacrosse team a year after that,” said lead director of Student Life and Athletics Michelle Ruble in the release.

Lacrosse is one of the nation‘s fastest-growing team sports with more than 680,000 players participating, according to the 2011 U.S. Lacrosse Participation Survey. High school players topped 275,000 in 2011, the release states. Lacrosse is also expanding at the college level, with colleges throughout the U.S. adding programs, including 30 new varsity programs in 2012 and 48 set to begin in 2013.

Maryland ranks first among states with the most lacrosse players, according to the release.

The full list of those who have made donations in support of the launch of lacrosse at CSM includes: Old Line Bank, Quality Built Homes Inc., Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa, St. Charles Companies, Benedict Metal Works Inc. and CSM Foundation, as well as individuals Erika Abell, Rick Bailey, Kris Bayer, Bill Comey, Jennifer Everhart, Judi Ferrara, Jon S. Frank, Michelle Goodwin, Brenda Harbold, Bonnie Harrison, Kathryn Hupp, Laura Hupp, Colleen L. Joffe, Margaret Jones, Janice Love, Andrew Lundeen, William McGee, Randall Sawyer, Karen Smith Hupp, Tonya Stanley, Christina Thompson and Helena Yates. Lacrosse supporters that helped CSM raise money during the Big Give included the Chesapeake Bayhawks lacrosse team and the University of Maryland men‘s lacrosse team.

To support lacrosse at CSM or receive the latest updates, register at www.csmd.edu/LAX.