Girls’ lacrosse invests in community’s future

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Max Stahl, staff writer

From the Nov. 30 print edition

Girls’ lacrosse strove to increase the popularity of its sport among elementary and middle school students on Saturday, Oct. 27. Four players, Olivia Rehbinder, Inbar Avrahami, Abbiegayle Levi and Chloe Ticknor, worked with the roughly 20 to 30 girls at the West L.A. Lacrosse League’s first clinic of the season at La Cienega Park.

They will continue to volunteer at clinics throughout the season and develop the young players’ skills.

“Our goal is to introduce younger kids to the sport,” Ticknor said. “We want there to be a program that allows kids to participate in lacrosse like they can in sports like soccer with AYSO. Right now our program is small but our hope is that it will expand with the help that I and some of my teammates are giving.” In addition to increasing participation in their sport, the players also have a team-based motive for volunteering at the clinic. “At the clinic we held, I helped teach girls that are between kindergarten and eighth grade how to play lacrosse because we’re trying to create a stronger future lacrosse team,” Levi said. “I worked with Olivia and Inbar to teach the girls basics like how to throw, catch and pick up ground balls.”

According to Ticknor, though, giving the young players an enjoyable experience was as important as improving their skills.

“I really just want the girls to have fun. Year after year we have girls coming to try out for high school lacrosse that have never even heard of the sport. It takes about two years after that to get most of them to a solid level of play,” Ticknor said. “My goal is that five or six years down the road we will start to see more players trying out for the high school team that already have a knowledge of the game. That background knowledge alone will really increase our ability to perform as a team.”

The girls attended the clinic at the suggestion of their coach, Kate Marks, who emailed her team about the opportunity. They are considering coaching West L.A. lacrosse teams in the upcoming season.

Two juniors on the boys’ varsity team, Evan Rennie and Yaniv Sadka, are already coaching a middle school team in the West L.A. Lacrosse League. This is their second year coaching youth lacrosse. Last season, Rennie and Sadka led their team, the Princeton Tigers, to the league semi-finals.

“As the head coach it is my job to teach the young athletes the fundamentals of lacrosse as well as more complex ideas and theories in order to have an enjoyable time and ultimately win games,” Sadka said. “My goal, along with [Director of the West LA Lacrosse League] Mitch Fenton’s is to promote the growth of lacrosse in the city of Beverly Hills as well as to continue feeding skilled and experienced lacrosse players into Beverly Hills High School.”

Although coaching takes away time for schoolwork, Sadka continues to commit himself to his team because, to him, the good outweighs the bad.

“I learned an incredible amount from watching the kids play the game from a spectator’s perspective,” he said. “I was able to bond with the kids. We share jokes and memories that will never be forgotten. It is one of the greatest feelings when you know that you have become a large part of a child’s life and they look up to you as a role model.”

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