Atlanta’s suburbs are a hotbed for niche sports like lacrosse, one of the oldest team sports and fastest growing sports in North America. It is quickly spreading to Georgia and is hitting an all-time high in areas like Alpharetta and Johns Creek. According to Global Sports Matters, since 2001, lacrosse has added more than half a million participants from youth to the professional level.
One of the local programs offered to residents interested in playing lacrosse is the Johns Creek Junior Gladiator program, a feeder program to Johns Creek High School where the girls lacrosse program was launched in 2010. Last fall, the Junior Gladiator program lowered the entry
point to third grade due to the high interest of younger girls who wanted to play the sport. The program has multiple teams for grades 3 – 5 and for grades 6 – 8. All grade-level teams offer lacrosse as a recreational sport in the fall with a more competitive “edge” during the spring, which is when the sport is played in high school.
These younger girls playing our area now have an opportunity to gain more experience and start at an earlier age. So if they want to learn the sport, improve their game and move on to the high school level and beyond, this program offers an amazing opportunity for gaining experience and maximizing their knowledge of the game.
The Johns Creek High School program has grown from 38 girls in 2016 to approximately 60 girls in 2019 representing the Junior Varsity and Varsity teams. In 2016, the Johns Creek High School team made it to the elite 8, finishing 2nd in the area and in 2017 made it to the Sweet 16 (after expanding playoffs to 32 teams), finishing fourth in the area. Again in 2019, the team made it to the Sweet 16, finishing second in the area. Since the program began, Johns Creek High School has had many girls continue on to play college D1, D2, and D3 lacrosse. When starting lacrosse, it is never too late to learn and excel at the sport. Case in point, one former Junior Gladiator, who started playing lacrosse in 8th grade, now plays at a D1 school doing an amazing job.
On February 6, "National Girl & Women in Sports Day," two seniors from Johns Creek High School signed to play lacrosse in college at a ceremony held after school. Rachel Quinn and Casey Davis have played since elementary school, starting with the Johns Creek Junior Gladiator program, and now as seniors have elected to continue.
At a recent game, Johns Creek’s first annual partnership with a program called Lace Up with Lax was launched, helping those in need through donating shoes at FosterCares. During the night, lacrosse players, coaches, spectators and the community donated new pairs of shoes for children. The mission of this national nonprofit organization is to define the legacy of players off the field
by helping end homelessness one step at a time. Since Lace Up With LAX’s inception in 2013, 2,000+ pairs of NEW shoes have been donated to homeless shelters throughout the United States.
Article by Mary Eva Tredway
Photography by Aubry Canales
Originally published in Alpharetta Lifestyle