BOZEMAN – The Bozeman Lacrosse Club has hundreds of kids in its organization. This summer it gave those kids a treat, bringing some of the best college players to Montana to coach them. Lucas Quinn and Natalie Wallon flew in from Syracuse University, one of the most storied programs in the history of lacrosse.
“I know everyone says lacrosse is such a growing sport, but I guess I never expected it to be this big out here already,” said Quinn, a rising sophomore for the Orange.
Bozeman Lacrosse program director Chris Kelley has a good working relationship with Syracuse. During the summers he usually brings Ryan Powell, a legend in the sport who also played at SU, to Montana to help coach. But he was thrilled to get two current college players to help him out.
“They have the energy and just want to instill what they’ve learned living back east, playing back east, rising up to the (highest) echelon of college ball, and teaching these kids the little things that are going to make them much better,” said Kelley.
Quinn and Wallon are some of the best players in the sport. Wallon is an all-American and all-ACC player, while Quinn was the fourth-ranked high school midfielder in the country by Inside Lacrosse. The two like what they see from these Montanans.
“I think the word that definitely comes to my head is potential,” said Wallon, who will be a junior this upcoming season. “There’s a lot of room for growth, but there’s great athletes out here. And I’ve already seen so much improvement just out of the three days we worked with them.”
“They really want to be great, which is awesome,” Quinn said. “I’ve been working with all the guys now. We’ve done a couple private lessons and these guys really just want to learn.”
Just being able to bring lacrosse talent like this to the Treasure State is huge for lacrosse in the area.
“It just shows that the coaches that are here currently in Montana are dedicated to making these players better,” said Wallon.
The coaches aren’t just keeping this knowledge in Bozeman. Quinn and Wallon will be traveling all over the state, teaching camps to anyone who wants to learn.
“For the growth of the game in Montana it’s awesome, because we give every kid from every program the opportunity to learn from these guys,” said Kelley, who also is the head men’s lacrosse coach at Montana State. “We go all the way down through Billings all the way up to the Flathead. So getting these kids in front of a lot of athletes is really important for us.”
Both Quinn and Wallon are from the east coast — Quinn from New York and Wallon from North Carolina. And before this trip, neither ever thought to travel to Montana to spread the game. But they’re happy they did.
“I didn’t ever expect to go to Montana in general, let alone coaching lacrosse. It’s been awesome out here,” Quinn smiled.
“I was a little nervous because I’m not a huge nature girl. And I just figured it was a bunch of mountains everywhere. So I guess I’m not wrong in that sense, but it’s absolutely beautiful out here,” laughed Wallon. “I think I might move out here.”
Quinn and Wallon will be travelling across the state and the nation teaching lacrosse. They will slowly travel through the Treasure State and a few other places before finally ending their camps in Bend, Oregon.