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Crossfire Lacrosse spreads sport through Paulding county
by Marcel Pourtout
mpourtout@neighbornewspapers.com
December 26, 2013 11:53 AM | 1522 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Marcel Pourtout<br>Members of the Crossfire U13 team, from left, Nathaniel Rodgers, Jay Helbing, Tyler Pellegrino and Griffin Marchese before practice at Harrison high school in Kennesaw last Tuesday evening.
Staff / Marcel Pourtout
Members of the Crossfire U13 team, from left, Nathaniel Rodgers, Jay Helbing, Tyler Pellegrino and Griffin Marchese before practice at Harrison high school in Kennesaw last Tuesday evening.
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Four years ago, Mark Stopher and Kirk Pratt, alumni of the fabled Syracuse University men’s lacrosse team, decided to start the Crossfire Lacrosse youth team and the growth has been exponential.

“We started the organization after seeing a need in the West Cobb and Paulding areas to help kids develop in the sport,” Pratt said.

Two of the teams, the U11 and U13 units, are set to travel to Tampa, Fla., to participate in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Tournament from Dec. 29 to 31. This calendar year, the U13 team has won the Georgia Games, the Southern Sizzle event in Charlotte, N.C., and the Southside Holiday Classic, which was in Peachtree City in November. The U11 team also won that event along with placing second in the Georgia Games.

“We had a strong summer season and that’s how we received the invitation to the tournament to face champions from other events,” Pratt said.

About 75 percent of the players in Crossfire Lacrosse are from Paulding, specifically as members of the North Paulding youth programs.

“We have talented kids from North Paulding and that program has grown in the past few years,” U13 assistant coach Ray Marchese said. “We started with 40 kids and now have more than 250 participating in the sport.”

Pratt said, “Lacrosse teaches people how to work together in competition and grow through adversity.

Marchese said, “We run a solid program while kids and parents are looking for alternatives to other sports. Lacrosse gives you physical contact and speed but not as much as football while also not being as expensive and time consuming as travel baseball may be.”

Even after its final event of 2013, Crossfire will return to practice preparing for its next tournament.

“The sport in Georgia has grown much faster than expected with more coaches and field space required to accommodate the need,” said Pratt. “We’re excited about it because of our passion for lacrosse and coaching the younger players.”

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