May 27, 2017

Students help bring new sporting clubs to campus

From left, Nutritional Advisor Randi McCreary, Lacrosse Club President Charles Serna and goalie Nicolas Plata-Escobar sit at the booth for their new club that brought lacrosse back. (Photo by Francisco Medina)

After piles of paperwork, countless efforts spent promoting and dozens of hours of completing miscellaneous tasks, the women’s softball club and the lacrosse club were introduced as the two newest sporting clubs on the Sacrament State campus.

Lacrosse returns to Sac State after a 20-year-long hiatus, and the softball club will the be the first of its kind in the school’s nearly 70-year history.

Women’s softball president Miranda Brown, lacrosse club president Charles Serna and vice president Garrett Slater were huge factors in making these two clubs operational. All three have been long-time players of their respective sports beforehand as well.

“When I came to orientation before my first year at Sac State, I asked if they had a softball club,” Brown said. “They told me no, but then told me you’re more than welcome to start a softball club.”

Brown, now a sophomore, made the best of her time living in a dorm during her freshman year as she used the close proximity to get the word out to a large group of interested students. However, the process came with its fair share of challenges as well.

“The club creation process was really hard because everything had a deadline, and I had to do all of these things before the week was over,” Brown said. “Now that the club is created, I am just looking to build a base of girls that are committed and start a family-like bond so we can grow together and still be playing four or five years in the future.”

This should come naturally to Brown. As a freshman softball player at Van Nuys High School, her team finished with a final record of 0-25; by her senior year, the team had made it all the way to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) championship game.

“I’m really looking forward to being back on the field after not playing the last year,” Brown said. “Even though I have not played competitively in a long time, I know it is going to be like riding a bike and I’ll get back into the groove.”

Unlike Brown, Serna had a little help in restarting the lacrosse club. After high school, Serna was playing in a recreational league on a team formerly known as the Streets of London (now the Brewers), and it was there where he met and played with his future vice president, Slater, and a handful of players from the 1996 Sac State championship lacrosse team.

“They mentioned to me that they haven’t seen anything in terms of lacrosse from Sac State and that led me to the club’s facebook page that has been dormant for so many years,” Serna said. “After seeing that I knew I needed to start a club up. I can’t go to college and not play lacrosse.”

In the fall of 2015, Serna and Slater were both playing for the Brewers and committed to restarting the club sport, which will compete against other universities locally and nationwide in leagues and tournaments, at Sac State.

Serna currently has six years of lacrosse experience and began his career at Woodcreek High School in Roseville, California. As a coach, he returned to his former high school team and is also working with companies such as All-West Lacrosse and Encore Lacrosse.

“One of my biggest influences in sticking with lacrosse for so long was one of the friends I trained with, Mike Strong. There was a time that I was out of the lacrosse game for awhile,” Serna said.

“I had a knee injury so I had to rest for awhile and later on … I’d watch lacrosse when it was playing on TV or search for highlights on YouTube. One day it hit me and I said, ‘Hey, I’m getting back into it.’”

Slater, on the other hand, has seven years of lacrosse experience and has also been coaching and volunteering for a little over a year, which he believes will be beneficial in teaching new players how to properly play the sport.

“I’m really excited to represent Sac State and wear the green and gold,” said Slater, who will join over 650 students competing in sporting clubs on campus.

The first few weeks of school are nearly complete and both clubs have had an impressive amount of students sign up. Lacrosse has had over 35 students sign up, with 11 of them being women, which could lead to a women’s lacrosse club on campus in the near future.

In their first meeting on Aug. 31, the women’s softball club had over 12 girls show up and express their interest in joining the organization.

Similarly to the other 19 sporting clubs on campus, lacrosse and softball are looking to gain a sizeable reputation and build a solidified group of students athletes to keep their clubs operating for many years to come.

“We have people that are graduating this year that are still willing to help out because they want to see us grow,” Serna said. “That is what our philosophy is, build a foundation so that there won’t be another 20-year break like there was from 1996 to 2016.”

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Noah Alvarez

Noah Alvarez is a senior at Sacramento State where he is majoring in communication studies. Noah is currently a sports writer for the State Hornet. He joined the student-run organization in fall 2016. Noah is also the Sports Director in charge of broadcasting Hornets' games for KSSU, Sac State's student-run radio station. In 10 years, Noah sees himself working as a college football play-by-play broadcaster for a sports network. He got into sports broadcasting after being a three-sport athlete in high school. Noah can be reached at [email protected]

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