Women’s lacrosse gets second chance

By Lindsey Woods

One Columbia freshman has more than lint in her pocket. She also cradles the remnants of a failed endeavor and the drive and hope for a more successful enterprise.

That pocket, of course, being the one in her lacrosse stick.

Sarah Kotnik, freshman double major in marketing communication and American sign language, has the ball rolling on restarting a women’s lacrosse team with the Renegades. Although the athletics department does not yet formally recognize the team yet, Kotnik has held interest meetings and met with Renegades board members to start preliminary paperwork to nudge the team toward formal recognition.

“I played lacrosse all four years of high school,” Kotnik said. “I enjoy sports, and I miss them. So I thought we should try to start a team here and see what happens.”

Renegades Vice President Forrest Frazier said Kotnik is moving in the right direction to lead her team from the planning stage to the field.

“She already had about 16–20 people ready to go and has a full roster,” Frazier said. “She’s actually really set. I’m expecting some great things from her.”

Lacrosse is not new to the roster of sports Columbia has offered, according to Mark Brticevich, the college’s Fitness and Recreation coordinator. There was a startup women’s team in 2009, and before that a men’s team that was mildly successful.

According to Brticevich, both teams were plagued by issues that eventually led to their respective demises, most notably a lack of commitment, leadership and the high cost of equipment.

“The problem with lacrosse is that it tends to be somewhat of an expensive sport because there’s a lot more equipment involved,” he said. “We don’t cover equipment and stuff like that to a large degree, so most of that has to be fundraised or they have to charge dues. That gets a little pricey, and that will also drive some students away.”

Expenses were only part of the reason the previous women’s lacrosse team failed to play even one game, according to its former vice president, Maranda Gorr-Diaz, who is also member of the new team.

“We had no funding from the Renegades,” Gorr-Diaz said. “They didn’t even offer to find us equipment. They didn’t help to coordinate games [or] find other schools. It was all just based on what we could start from scratch. So it kind of fizzled out because of that.”

Frazier remembers the failed fling a little differently, saying the team did receive funding from the Renegades.

“I believe they had the funding; it came down to the personnel that they had,” he said. “They just didn’t have enough people to play certain positions, and there was a rift and then that kind of fell apart.”

Regardless of why the last team failed, Gorr-Diaz has offered her support to Kotnik and the new team. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her doubts.

“They’re in a rut right now,” she said. “[Kotnik] was saying how there’s no equipment or funding.”

Despite the apprehension and the ghost of the old team looming over her shoulder, Kotnik said she knows what she is up against and is confident she can get the team off the ground.

“Personally, I take this very seriously, and I’m a really competitive person,” she said. “But I do understand that we go to an art school and people have more important things to do. But so far when I’ve been talking to people, they’re really excited, so I hope that the interest stays up.”