Wingate Women's Lacrosse Catching On - myfoxcarolinas.com

Wingate Women's Lacrosse Catching On

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Spring sports are underway at college campuses around the region.

At Wingate University, they’re bringing something new to the table – women’s lacrosse.

“It’s very cool,” said freshman Allison Holland. “It’s very awesome to be a part of an inaugural class. It just gives you that much more motivation to succeed.”

Wingate University has had men’s lacrosse since 1997, however it was not recognized as part of the South Atlantic Conference like their other sports are a part of.

This is the first season that the South Atlantic Conference is recognizing both men and women’s lacrosse – so Wingate figured it was the perfect time to bring a women’s team into the picture.

Players have been recruited from all around the country but it wasn’t hard to find some of their top talent – they were already on campus.

Gillian McLean is one of them.

“At first I was on the swimming and diving team and we thought, oh these girls are going to come to campus and think they own everything,” McLean said. “And then they cut the diving program.”

Gillian grew up a gymnast and even played volleyball. When the diving program was axed, she simply called the head lacrosse coach, Caline Olmstead, and asked for a shot.

Her overall-athletic ability translated, and she earned her spot on the team.

Still, there are a few adjustments she has had to make switching from one sport to another.

“Playing outside,” McLean said. “It’s my first outdoor sport and actually having to use my hand-eye coordination other than tumbling on a beam.”

Coach Olmstead, who played at Duke University for five years, is thrilled with the opportunity of not only helping start a program, but doing it with what she says, is a fun group of girls.

“They’re a great group,” Olmstead said. “They get along with each other and they have a great time – so that always makes it enjoyable as a coach when they’re laughing and having a good time but also working hard.”

It took 17 years, but the women at Wingate are getting their turn to share the same field as the men, and they’re enjoying every minute of it.

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