Friday, February 03, 2023


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Sports Article
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Boys Lacrosse Program Hoping to Plant a Seed
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Dr. Niccole Oswald and Norma-Jean Mertz each spent recent springs driving their sons to Boyertown to play youth lacrosse. Late last year, they decided to start a

league for boys in the Upper Perkiomen valley.

            This week, the newest addition to the Upper Perkiomen Youth Lacrosse Association completed a two-month stretch of indoor training at the Finland Mennonite Church in Marlborough Township. In April, the group hopes to move its training for 32 elementary school-aged players outside, according to Oswald, a coach and coordinator.

            She said the younger players, first graders with second graders and third graders teamed with fourth graders, will complete in a play day each weekend during the month.

            Rather than play in a league, the fifth and sixth are scheduled to complete against eight area teams in scrimmages. The Upper Perkiomen squad could be enter a tournament later in their season, according to Oswald. She said 90 percent of the participants are new to the sport.

            Ultimately, Oswald and Mertz hope to build a program that could lead to the official adoption of boys lacrosse as a varsity sport at Upper Perkiomen High School. Mertz suspects it could happen in three to four years.

            "I would love to see it public school," said Oswald, a family physician who lives in Pennsburg and practices in Silverdale. "Just about every district that borders Upper Perkiomen has a team. A rec team needs to be involved to help that rise up."

            Mertz said she and Oswald recently met with Robert Kurzweg, the school's athletic director, to discuss the endeavor. "He [Kurzweg] told us we are doing all the right things," said Mertz, a Pennsburg resident. 

            The mother of two daughters who play lacrosse for at the Upper Perkiomen High School, and Middle School, respectively, Mertz says she is thrilled with the progress they have made.

            Nathan Royer, a Red Hill resident whose second grade son is participating in the program, said he could envision a boys lacrosse team at the high school.  "It might take four or five years," Royer said Tuesday afternoon.

            Oswald and Mertz modeled the new program after the association's girls program started several years ago by Susan Flack, the head coach at Upper Perkiomen High School. According Mertz, they solicited advice from similar programs in neighboring communities.  "It's been challenging to figure out the right path," she said.

            According to Oswald, several of the boys in the program had spent previous years playing for teams in Boyertown, Souderton and other locals. She said several other interested parents are paying attention to the new program.  "They are in wait and see mode," Oswald said.

            Most of the players in the program have picked the fundamentals - carrying the ball, passing and shooting - in a relatively short period, according to Oswald.

            "They get the basics down within five days," said Oswald, a Cheltenham native who played lacrosse at Muhlenberg College in Allentown. "They're totally picking it up."






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