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It’s quickly becoming America’s game as it is the oldest game in North America, first belonging to American Indians.

It’s fast-paced drive that mixes basketball, soccer and football skills is what attracts the most competitive of athletes. It’s played with a stick, or crosse.

Fundraising is underway at The College of Southern Maryland for both a men’s and women’s lacrosse team, with a men’s team projected for 2014 due to the phenomenal support from the local community with the past month, as stated in a recent College of Southern Maryland press release.

The press release stated that CSM is a few dollars and weeks away from launching lacrosse at the National Junior College Athletic Association collegiate level in Southern Maryland.

The College of Southern Maryland’s teams would be registered to play in the NJCAA Division I program.

“We appreciate the community support of our athletic teams and the college,” CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried said in the 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.”

Quality Built Homes Inc. was one of the most recent companies to donate. They provided $10,000 to get the lacrosse program off the ground and to also include support for scholarships.

Rodney Gertz, Vice President of Quality Built Homes Inc., presented the check to the College of Southern Maryland.

“The college has done an excellent job in enhancing the student experience at the community college,” Gertz said in the recent press release. “CSM has an excellent program that helps all of Southern Maryland by providing great two-year programs and connections with other colleges and universities for the student to complete the bachelor’s degree. Sports offer a lot of analogies that are synonymous with success in academics and in the workplace.”

Gertz added, “As athletes, the students will find they will be making many similar decisions as they do on the playing field, assessing the risks before committing to a decision, or practicing for success We at Quality Built Homes are delighted to be able to be a part of this exciting new program at CSM, and to promote athletics and education at the same time as we build a strong program right here in our hometown.”

CSM hosted an online fundraiser, Big Give, for the launch of the lacrosse program and Marrick Homes Vice President Rick Bailey Jr., Benedict Metal Works Inc. and William McGee of Outdoor Creations were huge contributors.

Old Line Bank also stepped up to support the program, designating $10,000. Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa donated $2,000, $1,500 was raised during the St. Charles Running Festival sponsored by Lennar, Chick-fil-A of Charles County and The St. Charles Companies.

Michelle Ruble, CSM lead director of student life and athletics, said in the press release that once sufficient funds are raised the college will be able to move forward with hiring the men’s 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,” Ruble said in the press release, “followed by recruiting and developing a women’s lacrosse team a year after that.”

Via email, Ruble added, “We are looking for a men’s lacrosse coach who is involved in the local community and has a presence within the [local] counties. In order to quickly begin the recruiting process and to be looking at our local high school lacrosse athletes in action this spring.”

With regard to the start of the women’s lacrosse program at CSM, Ruble said it will depend on the success of our fundraising efforts, but that the goal is to hire a coach in 2014 to then compete in 2015.

McDonough head boys lacrosse coach Clarence Black said he was excited when he heard that CSM was preparing for the program. Black also coaches the U-11 A Knights team within the Charles County Lacrosse League.

“The starting of Hawks Lacrosse will only increase the growth, development and love for the sport of lacrosse,” Black said, “along with providing local players who are unable to meet Division I, II and III standards the opportunity to play lacrosse at the collegiate level. It’s great to see the growth of the sport at all levels both locally and nationally. I look forward to attending many games.”

tshowalter@somdnews.com