Scarborough Youth Lacrosse began in the spring of 1998 by town lacrosse pioneer Dan Barrett. In its first season, SYL served just 12 Scarborough boys in first and second grades.
In the 1999 season, the group founded a separate girls' division (the boys' and girls' versions of the sport are very different) and expanded to cover first through fifth grades. 32 players participated.
In the 2000 season, SYL expanded its scope again to cover middle-schoolers, serving 82 players.
Today, Scarborough Youth Lacrosse is one of the largest and most organized youth programs in Maine. We have close to 300 boys and girls in the program, feeding one of the most successful High School lacrosse programs in the Northeast. The Boys High School Red Storm program has 6 Maine State Championships, and the Girls High School Red Storm has 4 Maine State Championships. Many former SYL players have gone on to play lacrosse in college and have returned to coach and give back to the community.
Perhaps most important to Scarborough is the sense of COMMUNITY. Both the High School programs have adopted the concept of NICHEMIS, the native Abenaki tribe's word for "Little Brother/ Little Sister". The high school players give back to the youth programs by coaching and mentoring during the season and off -seasons.
ARTICLE FROM US LACROSSE:
ZIP It: 04074 (Scarborough, Maine)
| Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff
The Scarborough High School girls' and boys' lacrosse teams won state championships in 2010.
© Jim Przyblowicz
At the start of the spring lacrosse season in late March, snow typically covers the fields in Scarborough, Maine, or at the very least playing surfaces are thick with mud.
"It's always dicey," Scarborough youth and middle school league founder Dan Barrett said of field conditions during the winter thaw.
The high school has a turf field, but with the growing popularity of the boys' and girls' lacrosse teams — both won Maine Class A championships in 2010 — and the need to balance use time with the track teams, there's competition for the space.
"We're known for our coast," Barrett said.
Though it's a strong possibility that will always be the case, lacrosse — which wasn't played in Scarborough schools prior to 1995 — is growing in the southern suburb of Portland.
Barrett, a New Jersey native, had one year of lacrosse playing experience when he created the youth league in 1998 at the urging of his first-grade son. It had 12 boys' participants in first and second grades. Now, Barrett estimated there are between 140 and 180 players in the program from first through sixth grades, boys and girls.
The high school boys' team has won state championships in three of the last six years and the girls' have won two titles in five seasons.
Scarborough is first a soccer town, and generally Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth are considered Maine's top lacrosse areas, according to Michael Hoffer, sports editor of [ital]The Forecaster[end ital], but "Scarborough's gaining," he said. "The town continues to grow exponentially and the youth programs are second to none."
The fast pace of lacrosse has helped attract hockey, soccer or baseball players to give it a try, Barrett said. Dave St. Germain, a former NLL player, is involved in youth coaching.
The high school boys program, led by coach Joe Hezlep, has in recent years sent players to Siena and Providence (junior middie Brent Mayo). Bryan MacPhie, a 2006 Scarborough High graduate, was the second-leading scorer for Northeast-10 Conference champion Merrimack last season.
From last season's undefeated girls' title team, coached by Marcia Wood, Ellie Morin is playing at Division II Southern New Hampshire, and Lindsay Hagerman is at Assumption. Several others are playing D-III ball.
"It's a growing sport and becoming more competitive," said Wood, who also coaches a travel team that plays in New England. "I don't know so much about with Maryland, but we're trying to become more competitive with them." LM
Town: Scarborough, Maine
US Lacrosse Members: 201
US Lacrosse Chapter: Maine
Claim to Fame: Birthplace of William King, first governor of Maine; largest saltwater marsh in the state; Higgins Beach; sandy beaches and rocky coastline made famous by a local artist, Winslow Homer.