Lacrosse has taken a foothold in the Rockford region, bringing both genders to the field.
"I play football and I like the contact of it. I think it's really fun. Lacrosse is a lot like basketball, I play that too, so I decided to try it out," says Meridian Junior High student Julia Orlando.
The Rockford Razorbacks club program has youth and high school squads, introducing the sport to a new generation.
"It's definitely awesome," says Razorbacks player and Belvidere North student Sam Corbett. "Coming from the East Coast, players are starting to move out here in Chicago, in the suburb area, it's a hot lacrosse spot right now, it's moving towards us a little bit more."
The head coach of the Razorbacks credits one popular school for starting a ripple effect with their NCAA success.
"To be honest, I think Notre Dame put it on the map for us. That was a big deal, when Notre Dame does anything, they draw attention," says Razorbacks coach Robert White. "In a couple years, they were a championship program. That sprung up programs all around here."
The IHSA announced in April it will begin a lacrosse state series in 2018, reaffirming the Razorbacks' mission to grow the game.
"It finally got to the point where they couldn't ignore it anymore. For these clubs to be taken on by the team and playing in stadiums with fans and classmates rooting for them, that's a big deal," says White.
It's a huge development for the younger Razorbacks, who are eager to continue playing and learning.
"That's a really big deal. I love sports, playing for championships is really cool. I think it's a big opportunity, and I hope a lot of high schools take that into consideration, getting the sport of lacrosse," says Orlando
Once an Eastern staple, lacrosse is latching on to the Midwest, and sparking the interest of our very own local athletes. That will continue this weekend at Sportscore Two as the Razorbacks host a lacrosse tournament.