TAMPA – Lacrosse is often dubbed the fastest growing sport in America – and Florida is trying to catch up.
At the moment, the lacrosse, or “lax,” hotbeds are in the Northeast, but with college programs sprouting up all over Florida, Tampa area athletes are starting to get noticed. Most of the Northeast college powerhouses don’t visit Florida much because there is too much talent in their own yards, but Florida is inching its way into the lax world.
The University of Tampa started its lacrosse program two years ago, joining other small private schools in going varsity. Jesuit High School senior Noah Menendez signed with UT after his junior season. He scored 40 goals and had 10 assists for the Tigers last year and is looking forward to a bigger spring his senior season.
“I started playing in first grade,” Menendez said. “I never stopped. I wanted to play football but fell in love with lacrosse. Florida is on the way in lacrosse and I hope I can help it out at UT. The big schools are going to start coming down here and see that we can play lacrosse.”
Menendez plays middie for the Tigers. He knows that the lax hierarchy is up North, but he’s looking forward to UT and a shot at showing what the northern schools are missing.
“We can play,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time.’’