Moorestown High School’s girls lacrosse team will host a Youth Appreciation Day on April 27 at the stadium fields to recognize the Moorestown Lacrosse Club (MLC).
They will play against Rancocas Valley Regional High School at 3:45 p.m. and honor the MLC at halftime with a group photo and cheer. The club is open to students in kindergarten through eighth grade and has 12 girls teams that boast more than 250 players. The high-school lacrosse program has more than 60 members.
MLC girls’ Vice President Michelle Sullivan believes there’s a connection between her club and the high-school varsity program.
“There’s preparation to get our girls, as they enter into junior high, to get ready to play for a nationally ranked high-school program, and there’s the seriousness of that,” she explained. “But I think the Youth Appreciation Day is for everyone that has any connection to lacrosse in Moorestown.”
“It’s a rigorous sport in town and in the high school but … there’s opportunity with the Moorestown Lacrosse Club for all levels, and the Youth Appreciation Day is to bring the two programs together,” Sullivan added.
Sullivan also noted that MLC players accompany varsity players onto the field during the event.
“They get to run through the tunnel and do all of the pregame traditions,” she said. “They get to be with the girls as they get their names announced. They stand on the field while the national anthem is being (played) … So they get to partake in all those pregame things.”
At halftime, members of the MLC are invited onto the field and receive a handwritten letter from the high school’s varsity and junior varsity lacrosse players.
“It’s a personal letter from the high-school (lacrosse player) to the Moorestown Lacrosse Club about what it’s like, what their memories are and what they (MLC members) have to look forward to to be a part of the program,” Sullivan noted.
“Then they teach them some of the traditional cheers that the varsity program does during games … And then we take a great, big picture with the varsity and the varsity coaching staff.”
A longstanding tradition on Youth Appreciation Day involves having a player speak to the MLC, but this year two teammates – Katie Buck and Grace Button – will speak as this year’s honorees. Varsity girls’ head coach Colleen Hancox noted what the day means to her.
“It’s a great way to show my personal gratitude and appreciation to not only the girls who are training hard and working at practice … but it’s a big sense of gratitude to the parents and the coaches and the club organizers who put in a lot of work behind the scenes, as well as coaching on the field to just say,” Hancox said.
“My success as the varsity head coach isn’t possible without their dedication and success within the club program.”
Moorestown’s senior captain and goalie Laura Sullivan praised the program’s special event.
“We have such a good connection with the younger teams,” she acknowledged. “When it comes to Youth Appreciation Day, there’s just a lot of love everywhere. I think it’s so cool to see the little girls’ faces when they’re on the field and when they’re with us learning the cheers.”
Sullivan has advice for female players in the MLC who are interested in joining the high-school’s lacrosse program.
“I definitely would say to just stay with it, because it can be competitive,” she advised. “But it’s worth it. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Practicing can be tough but … what our coaches have provided for us, it is really like no other program I’ve ever been a part of.”