By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– As the West Salem Lacrosse team wraps up their four-day kids camp at West Salem High School, the opportunity to host an event like this was unbeliveable describes Titan Head Coach Sean Litrakis.
“It’s incredible, we tried to get it going last year but with my first-year, you got to do a little bit at time and this year with the help of our board and the youth parents and of course Bill Wittman and Coach (Shawn) Stanley, it’s outstanding,” said Litrakis. “They left the water on for us so the kids could have water and cool themselves, and we had field time and it was just fantastic.”
With the kids flying around having fun, were floating around some of the Titan Lacrosse athletes like Wyatt Livengood, and the opportunity to coach the sport they play and love at the High School level is just apart of what Litrakis calls a ‘Vertical Integration’ to help build a pipeline from the youngsters all the way up until they enter High School.
And Livengood points to how important it is for some of these kids who will be coming to West Salem high School next year after he is gone, to be familiarize with how they run a few things and are familiar to thinking as High School Lacrosse players.
“I just think it’s good because they’re the next generation after us,” said the soon-to-be-senior Livengood. “And after this year, we’re losing a lot of seniors so it’s just going to be good to have a lot of these kids that are already getting a lot of talent at this age, to come up and help the West Salem program.”
Tyler Mercier, who’s going to be entering the fourth-grade this fall and has been playing Lacrosse for two-years going on three now, said that the camp has helped him improve as a Lacrosse player as him and the fellow kids learned from a former college Lacrosse player in Litrakis and the coaches around them.
“It was really fun, we got a lot to learn a lot of new things and we had the coaches helped out and were really nice,” Mercier. “They helped with our accuracy with shooting and with our dodges and I think it was just really fun.”
With 27 kids attending camp, three not being apart of the ‘West Salem’-area, the camp went up and beyond the idea of not just helping the WSHS-program, but also help build the sport of Lacrosse around the Greater Salem Area.
“It’s so important, we had 27 kids and we had three kids who are not in West High School path and we welcomed them in and this is about fundamentals and growing the game and vertically integrate our organization,” said Litrakis. “And I’ll tell you what, look out because these kids can play already.
“We grow the game that the first thing for the kids is to have fun and the more kids in the area that are playing, the better the system is going to be all over. We welcome them in like they are one of our own but the truth of the matter is I’m here for the long-haul and I want to build this program to be something special and soon-enough we will be competing with those Portland teams and that’s where it starts and that’s with the young kids.”
A few Pictures, Photos by Jeremy McDonald