When the varsity boys of the Eastlake Lacrosse team arrived at Camp Casey on a Friday in early March, they stored their phones so they couldn’t access their social media for the weekend.
“It’s just great to get away. You take away all of their phones, and they’re stuck with each other,” said. Eastlake Head Coach Jason Montoya. “It’s good for the boys. They’re forced to hang out.”
Around two dozen high school players of the Eastlake team, also known as the Wolves, spent a weekend at Camp Casey honing their skills and bonding as a team. They were preparing for a 20-game season against teams in King County, Snohomish County, and Oregon. The lacrosse team is not affiliated with Eastlake High School in Sammamish, Washington.
“It was a good way to break away from the normal routine,” said Ron Ortloff, vice president of Eastlake Lacrosse, whose son, Tyler, competes on the team. “The weekend on Whidbey helped the players jell as a team.”
Lacrosse is the oldest team sport in North America, according to USA Lacrosse. The sport dates to the 17th century and originated in Native American communities. High school boys in Washington state compete in the Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association, while girls compete in the Washington Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association.
Amid the practices and exercising that took place on the open parade field at Camp Casey, teammates spent the evenings roasting marshmallows and making s’mores at the burn pits located near the water, sleeping in the dormitories, enjoying meals prepared on site, and engaging in other team-building activities.
Montoya added that visiting Camp Casey for the weekend was a great way for the kids to get away from the world.
The Wolves enjoyed considerable success in the years before the pandemic. They won the Lacrosse 4A State Championships in 2018 and again in 2019. COVID-19 prompted officials to cancel the 2020 season. In 2021, Eastlake was undefeated for the season, but the championships were canceled because of the pandemic, Ortloff said.
The boys varsity team kicked off its season with a loss to O’Dea on March 12, and then a victory against Seattle Prep on March 16.
More than a high school boys team, the Eastlake Lacrosse program has more than 250 players from kindergarten through high school. The organization also has a girls team, and the numbers of kids competing have increased.
For more information, go to www.eastlakelacrosse.org.
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