U of M lacrosse team falls in finals

The team hosted the Upper Midwest Lacrosse League playoffs this weekend.

Minnesota senior Dan Wingard passes the ball while being hit by Mankato players on Saturday at Burnsville High School.

Jules Ameel

Minnesota senior Dan Wingard passes the ball while being hit by Mankato players on Saturday at Burnsville High School.

mackenzie collins

For players on the University of Minnesota MenâÄôs Lacrosse Club team, hiring coaches, balancing a budget, reserving practice space, keeping grades up and raising money are all necessary just to stay afloat from year to year. But the team didnâÄôt have to pay much in transportation costs this weekend as it hosted the Upper Midwest Lacrosse League playoffs. The tournament determined that of the five Division I teams in the conference, the University of Minnesota-Duluth will advance to the MenâÄôs Collegiate Lacrosse Association National Championships in Denver, May 11 to 16. There are 10 MCLA conferences around the Unites States that send their winning teams to the national tournament. UMD has been UMLL champion the past five years. The UniversityâÄôs team lost to UMD 12-4 Sunday in the conference championship game. The University lost to UMD 16-2 earlier this year. For the University players, thereâÄôs a lot of work to do off the field in order to compete. Because the team is a club sport and isnâÄôt affiliated with the athletics offices, all of the administrative duties are carried out by the students themselves with support from Campus Life Programs. âÄúWeâÄôre the ones that make it run and make sure that there is a U of M lacrosse team,âÄù club President Aaron White said. Even though the team isnâÄôt part of the NCAA, it is part of the University-sponsored Sports Club program. This means that each player must be a full-time student with a grade point average of 1.6 or above, White said. The team of 37 players this year practices two to three times each week and participates in a summer league, which is when White said the team takes time to recruit its own coach. âÄúThe lacrosse community in Minnesota is pretty small, so we know who would help us out and who would be a good fit,âÄù White said. Because the team is a club sport and student organization, the team must also raise or pay for a majority of their budget, Recreational Sports Associate Program Director Jessica Novotny, said. âÄúClubs can request 25 percent of their projected budget to help support themselves, and the other 75 percent comes through their other ways of raising money,âÄù Novotny said. That meant covering a budget of $50,000 for this year, Mike Storts, the teamâÄôs vice president, said. âÄúFor $500 worth of gear and $200 worth of jerseys, plus all of the travel and hotels, everything adds up,âÄù Storts said. This year, that meant that each player paid dues of more than $1,000 to play in the league, Adam Postelnek, one of the teamâÄôs junior leaders, said. White also said that the team faces challenges with the recruitment of players. Other Minnesota schools, especially UMD, have had a large amount of success recruiting talented lacrosse players, White said. âÄúWe talk to a lot of the recruits and want them to come out, but they canâÄôt get into the University of Minnesota because the U of M is a tougher school to get into,âÄù White said. However, the strong academics at the University were a pull for players like Storts, who was recruited by several Division II and Division III schools throughout the country to play lacrosse. âÄúIt makes more sense to go to a school like Minnesota with high academics, because in the future, thatâÄôs what it comes down to,âÄù Storts said. âÄúThere are no people making millions of dollars playing professional lacrosse.âÄù But White said that despite all of the organizational obligations, the bond the team has formed is well worth it. âÄúI would consider a lot of these guys my brothers,âÄù White said.