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Loyola lacrosse partnering up with Newtown once again

Posted on 10 January 2014 by WNST Staff

Men’s Lacrosse Makes Return Trip For Newtown Clinic

NEWTOWN, Conn. – Twenty-four members of the Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse program gathered in Newtown, Conn., yesterday to participate in a clinic for the Newtown Youth Lacrosse Association for the second-straight year.

Last year, then-freshman Jason Crane led a group of 14 Greyhounds to the town where weeks before lives had been changed by the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On Thursday, Crane and his teammates returned to lead a clinic with the youth and families who have formed a tight bond with the Loyola lacrosse program.

“It was once again wonderful to spend time with a group that become part of our extended family,” said Charley Toomey, Loyola’s head coach. “We hold the families of Newtown close to our hearts, and we draw from the strength that they have exhibited.

“When the youth took the field, I saw the excitement in our players’ faces to work with them. It was the first time I’ve been able see our players after a long break, and it made me even more excited to take the field for practice on Monday. Once again, we want to thank (Newtown Youth Lacrosse Association’s) Jeff Tousignant and Jim Wallace for assisting in our stay in their town.”

The Greyhounds led a clinic for the Newtown players, working with various age groups from elementary-age through middle school, teaching skills and team concepts.

“For me, it was awesome because of the amount of smiles that we were able to see,” Justin Ward, a senior co-captain, said. “I wasn’t there last year to know exactly what it was like, but the coaches and parents talked about what their kids were able to experience. This was a great time to be with them, teach them a little bit about the game and just have fun. One of the Newtown coaches mentioned how strong the bond has become between their program and ours, and that is something that is very important to us as players.”

Loyola’s connection to the Newtown Youth Lacrosse Association has gone beyond the two clinics. More than 100 members of the Newtown community – children, coaches and parents – attended a Loyola home game last year, spending the weekend touring Baltimore and fellowshipping with the Greyhounds.

For his work last year, Crane was named the winner of the 2013 Yeardley Love Unsung Hero Award.

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Defending national champs Loyola hold lacrosse clinic for Newtown

Posted on 03 January 2013 by WNST Staff

NEWTOWN, Conn. – Fourteen members of the 2012 NCAA Champion Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse team took time from their holiday break today to travel to Newtown, Conn., to lead a lacrosse clinic for youth in the town that was forever changed last month by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The trip, which was student-athlete organized, was the idea of freshman Jason Crane (Pasadena, Md./Chesapeake-AA High School).

Players departed Maryland on Thursday morning and picked up teammates on the trip to Connecticut. Others who live in the New England region met the team in Newtown.

Crane reached out to Jim Wallace, the Coach Training Coordinator for the Newtown Lacrosse Association, and Wallace invited the Greyhounds to lead today’s clinic.

“Obviously, we knew the town was hurting, and I found Jim’s e-mail address, and I asked if there was anything we could do,” Crane said. “He said it would be great if we could do the clinic and talk to the kids.

“When we got here today, Jim talked to us for a while, and he told us how many of (the clinic’s) kids were in the school at the time of the shooting. He said the town has been very quiet, and there is a lot of sadness. The kids are dealing with things that no elementary or middle school kid should have to deal with. He talked about how our presence helps the kids out in ways that we can’t even imagine.”

Today’s clinic drew more than 100 Newtown youth players, ranging from third through eighth grades, despite the fact that Crane and the Greyhound put their plans together in less than a week.

“As soon as I got (Crane’s) e-mail, I texted him and said I was in,” junior Brian Schultz said. “It has been a moving experience. We are trying to do anything we can just to raise spirits a little bit. In Maryland, you can’t really gauge what it’s been like here, but we’ve heard some really intense stories from Jim and others.”

At the clinic, the Greyhounds taught lacrosse skills and team play, as well as interacted with the kids on the field.

“Hopefully, we can influence them positively,” Crane said.

Loyola opens its season on Saturday, February 16, at the University of Delaware, and the Greyhounds open their home schedule on Saturday, February 23, with a NCAA Championship Game rematch against the University of Maryland.

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