Monday, January 23, 2012

Geography 101

The 2012 UC Davis women's lacrosse team took its head shots last week. In updating the photos on the online roster, I noticed something. I can put into words what I saw, or I can give you a visual aid.

I like the second way (click to expand):

EDIT (1.24.12): Junior Hannah Mirza just alerted me that her hometown is actually Westchester, N.Y., not Mill Valley, Calif. as was previously listed on rosters (apparently, her parents lived there for a year). So make that nine Californians and 14 out-of-staters.

Yep. Nine student-athletes hail from the Golden State, while the other 14 come from 11 other states. To my knowledge, this is the first Aggie team from which the majority of players come from outside California's boundaries.

Both UC Davis and the overall UC system has targeted an increase in out-of-state students in the past year. The Chancellor's plan for an expanded UC Davis placed a significant value on increasing non-California residents, as was reported in Comstock's Magazine (and reprinted on the Chancellor's own site). In a campus press release last April, vice chancellor Lora Jo Bossio noted that "enrolling more out-of-state and international students will enhance the educational experience for all students and prepare them to be successful in a global society."

It's also preparing them to be successful in the MPSF.

Of course, the reason for the Aggie lacrosse team's geographic composition is rather simple: although lacrosse continues to grow on the Pacific end (and in the greater Denver, Colo. area), the sport remains more popular in a stretch of the East Coast from New England down into Virginia. I liken it to water polo, only in reverse: while water polo continues to grow in popularity on the side of the country were Saturday Night Live is actually live, its mother lode remains in California.

This isn't to say that California fails to produce fine lacrosse talent. Several years ago, Katie McMahon (Pleasanton, Calif.) led the nation in goals scored. The team's returning All-MPSF performer is Vannessa Jamison, from Poway. Last year's leading scorers were seniors Gina Hoffmire (Corte Madera) and Christina Corsa (Danville). So head coach Elaine Jones (from Baltimore, Md., by the way) continues to do an admirable job mining California for talent while training one eye eastward.

The Aggie lacrosse team kicks off its season in February and hosts its first home games in March (vs. LIU on Mar. 11, Central Connecticut on Mar. 19). The games take place out at Aggie Stadium. Personally, I hope those on campus who have made out-of-state recruitment a priority will check out a game or two.

And yes, I know Aggie Stadium is a long walk from the center of campus, but many of the players... well, they came a long way, too.

Mark Honbo, assistant athletics communications director, considered it a personal victory when he (a California native) taught an SID at a small Virginia-based university how to keep women's lacrosse stats.

No comments:

Post a Comment