Featured images courtesy of Tracy Pollard Photography
As the fastest sport on two feet and the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., lacrosse is bold by nature.
Now, along with some bold equipment from Nike, lacrosse is blazing into South Dakota.
Founded to bring the sport of lacrosse to Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls Lacrosse was founded two years ago to meet a growing demand. Corey Mitchell, president of Sioux Falls Lacrosse, first saw the interest in the sport from youth hockey players who were using lacrosse to cross train.
“I was doing some youth athletic training for hockey players, and I’ve always wanted to play lacrosse but it was never an option. When I was doing some youth training for hockey players, we did lacrosse during the summertime and there were a lot of non-hockey players who played, had a good time and wanted more,” Mitchell said. “So we started our own program. I had so much fun learning the skills and practicing with the kids that I wanted to start an adult league, and have had a stick in my hands ever since.”
The program began play in spring 2014, with 74 players. Today, there are 250 players in the program across eastern South Dakota.
Mitchell said the program has grown through grassroots advertising and word of mouth, and that the community’s reception to lacrosse has been extremely positive.
“Parents have been cautiously optimistic, and families have basically jumped in with both feet,” he said. “They’re engaged, they approach it with ‘Hey, I don’t know anything about the sport, but I’m just going to come watch and enjoy it.’ And that’s the type of environment that we’re trying to create; one in which parents can come out and enjoy watching their kid splaying the sport. I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive group of parents.”
At the beginning of the fall 2015 season, Sioux Falls Lacrosse gained another supporter; lacrosse fan and sponsor Jason Engle. Jason Engle is the CEO of Legacy Electronics, which relocated from California to South Dakota in December 2010. A native of California, he has spent a lot of time around the sport. “It’s changed my life, and it’s changed my son’s life,” Jason Engle said. “There’s no sport quite like it.”
Jason Engle’s son, Korey Engle, coaches the high school boys’ team, and approached Mitchell the day after his first practice. The team needed new equipment, and so Korey Engle and Mitchell started the search for gear to match the team’s existing color palette: navy blue and neon yellow.
Mitchell saw the Nike Vapor Elite Volt gloves on LACROSSE.COM’s Instagram and showed them to Korey Engle. Worn by elite and NCAA players across the country, the Nike Vapor Elite glove is designed to be the lightest glove in the game. The Nike Vapor Elite Volt glove is limited edition and exclusive to LACROSSE.COM; Nike only made 140 pairs.
“Partnering with Nike, we shared the vision of providing a truly unique piece of equipment that would not only make a player stand out on the field, but to have a personal connection to their equipment,” Rien Zabor, LACROSSE.COM’s marketing manager said. “From the cleats on your feet to the type of pocket in your stick and the gloves you wear, lacrosse gives players the opportunity to personalize their game. The Volt Exclusive Nike Vapor Elite gloves are another way for players to truly stand out on the field.”
“It was more of a pie-in-the-sky thing, like ‘Hey! Check these out,’, not really expecting anything,” Mitchell said. “But they [Jason and Korey Engle] just bit into it, and they were like ‘Yeah: Those are the gloves.’”
The players were excited too.
“When they handed out the gloves, it was like Christmas,” Jason Engle said.
“When the kids got them, they were completely amped up,” Mitchell said.” You could tell it was a motivator for them, for sure. To have a quality product on their hands, it made them work a little harder during practices, and start to feel more like a team. Having a consistent look and feel across all the players made a huge difference.”
That enthusiasm and energy didn’t stop when practice did.
“One parent said that for the first three days, her son never took them off. He took them off to go to bed, and that was it,” Mitchell said. “I have a pair as well and they’re phenomenal. They’re easy to move, and I love the comfort.”
Jason Engle said the gloves were a reward for the players’ hard work, and help inspire the program’s younger players as well.
“We wanted to outfit this team with top-of-the-line gloves,” Jason Engle said. “ And now, the only program in the world with these gloves is in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.”
Shop the Nike Vapor Elite Volt gloves exclusively at LACROSSE.COM.