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Memorial Day weekend marks would-be college lacrosse championships

Rich Donnelly
Updated: May 22, 2020 11:31 PM
Created: May 22, 2020 09:50 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — We're more than two months into the shutdown and while some sports have come back and others work their way toward a return, this weekend is a harsh reminder to many about what is missing. 

March 12 was the day that the entire college spring sports season was canceled. Memorial Day weekend would have been the championships for college lacrosse. 

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For a closer look at the vibe and atmosphere of the college lacrosse championships we caught up with RIT Head Coach Jake Coon.

"The vibe is incredible, there's just energy from top to bottom,” Coon said. “Whether it's family, alumni, the team themselves, coaches, everybody is full of energy, it's an incredible experience."

In college lacrosse, Memorial Day weekend is more than just something you circle on the calendar, it's a pilgrimage for fans and a goal for every team in every division.

"It's what you put all the time and energy into, it's the culminating weekend, playing in front of the massive crowd is exciting in itself, tailgating, signing autographs, kids look at you like you're a superstar," Coon said.

As RIT’s head coach Jake Coon has brought the Tigers to championship weekend twice, he also went there twice as a player with Nazareth in the 90s.

This year, forces beyond anyone's control prevented the championships from being held, but the future is bright for the Tigers.

"We're trying to gear up for next year,” Coon said. “We have nine to 10 seniors returning, the talent level on our team will be as high as it's ever been. What I like about that is it's going to be really competitive and if you want to win national championships it's got to be competitive daily."

Next year, RIT will look for its first return to the championship game since 2017, when the returning fifth-year seniors would have been freshmen.

"They wanted to win it their senior year, been talking about it since their freshman year and for them to get their opportunity back, I was grinning ear to ear that day and I think they appreciate their opportunity," Coon said.

The opportunity could result in the first-ever lacrosse national championship for the Tigers.

In March the NCAA granted all spring sports athletes an extra year of eligibility.

The Tigers were undefeated when their season was canceled and with those returning players coming back they should be great again next year.


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