How long have you been playing lacrosse?
Six years…five with the girls and now one with the boys!

Contributed by Gretchen Crawford, Elle’s mother
Last year, when Elle was in fifth grade and could play Middle School sports for the first time, she tried to start a girl’s lacrosse team at Mount Vernon.  She made posters and got a petition going to generate interest, and while the School encouraged her initiative, there were not enough coaches and field time to start a girls team. So, Elle begged to join the boys team – but I said no, as I thought it would be too much to have a fifth grade girl playing on the Middle School boys team. I mean, a fifth grader competing in a contact sport against eighth grade boys? 

A year later, Elle remained focused on her goal of playing lacrosse for her school, even if that meant joining the boys team.  There is something very special about representing your school on a sports team. She asked me if she could try out for the boys team… and she continued to follow up with me on an almost hourly basis.  This went on for days (both week days and weekends) and her persistence finally paid off.  I emailed the coaches and asked if Elle could try out for the team. After they made sure I understood what we were getting into, they welcomed Elle to be evaluated, and invited her to join the team. Elle was beyond thrilled when she got the news, but I’ll admit – I was very nervous on her behalf. I wasn’t sure what to expect. There are different rules and different equipment, so in addition to being the only girl, she was definitely faced with a learning curve to participate.

Playing lacrosse at MVPS has been a great experience on many levels. The coaches and players are fantastic. Everyone does a really great job teaching technique, strategy, and sportsmanship.  Not only is this particular group a talented group of athletes, they play with integrity.  It’s truly a pleasure to watch the team play.

“Elle is doing just a fantastic job this season. She is bold, determined, and very sweet. She has done such a wonderful job of gelling with her teammates and becoming part of the team. Couldn’t be more proud and honored to coach this girl. That being said, I am equally proud of her teammates for bonding with her and making sure she feels important, valued, and part of the team. This is a very special group and it has been an honor to be a part of the lacrosse memories made this season!”

Middle School Lacrosse Coach Wayne Dabbs

I’m a big believer that sports teach all sorts of great life lessons. Elle is having fun playing lacrosse, but there’s no doubt she is also gaining some great life experiences on the MVPS lacrosse team. I’m so incredibly proud and thankful for the opportunity.

When it comes to sports, Elle has always had extreme focus.  For lacrosse, she has a bounce back that she uses to practice throwing and catching at home outside of regular practice time.  When she ice skated in kindergarten, she would beg to go to the ice rink on the weekends where she would practice for three hours at a time – only stopping because they would close the rink for the Zamboni.  In the summertime, she routinely stays after regular dive practice to keep practicing for hours.  And she loves being on swim team – both MVPS swim team (state champs two years in a row -shout out to Debbie Markland, we appreciate everything she does for MVPS swimming!) and Elle’s club team (Dynamo). In fact, her MVPS relay team won a gold medal at state championships this year!  Sports are a very big part of her life, and MVPS sports in particular have been very rewarding experience.  I encourage anyone interested in joining or supporting an MVPS team to jump in and do it! We love our school!  Go Mustangs!

Grade 6 Guest Interviewer: What is it that makes lacrosse special to you?
Elle: My cousin got a scholarship to Lafayette College in Pennsylvania to play lacrosse.

G6: Tell me about your experience playing sports at Mount Vernon.
Elle: I have really enjoyed swimming and now lacrosse. The coaches are so nice and give great advice. We also collaborate a lot.

G6: How did It feel when you realized that there wasn’t a girls lacrosse team at Mount Vernon?
Elle: I was sad when I heard that because I had gotten my hopes up. After I talked to Mr. Dehem [MV Athletic Director], I realized that because there was a shortage of fields and coaches and wondered if I could do anything about that. I knew Ellie McGoldrick was really interested in lacrosse – so I talked to her about starting a scrimmage team.

G6: Tell me about your decision to play for our team?
Elle: I felt very comfortable with girls lacrosse and wanted to be challenged, but I was nervous because girls lacrosse is not really a contact sport. When boys play, they are rough! I emailed the coach and heard there were extra spots on the team, so I felt I had to go for it.

G6: What would you say to other girls who are interested in playing for Mount Vernon’s lacrosse team?
Elle: I would tell them not to get discouraged and to keep moving forward.

G6: What is the reaction from your opponents (if any)?
Elle: I overhear people say “That guy has a lot of hair!”

G6: What is the reaction of your friends and schoolmates?
Elle: I hear that I shouldn’t be on the team because it’s all boys and it’s not for girls. BUT, lots of sixth and seventh graders come to watch the games. Most people are really supportive. I just kind of blend in and don’t get upset because this is what I want to do. My teammates, my coaches, my friends, and my family all have my back.