Jan. 10, 2014
NEWTOWN, Conn. - Twenty-four members of the Loyola University Maryland men's lacrosse program gathered in Newtown, Conn., yesterday to participate in a clinic for the Newtown Youth Lacrosse Association for the second-straight year.
Last year, then-freshman Jason Crane led a group of 14 Greyhounds to the town where weeks before lives had been changed by the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On Thursday, Crane and his teammates returned to lead a clinic with the youth and families who have formed a tight bond with the Loyola lacrosse program.
"It was once again wonderful to spend time with a group that become part of our extended family," said Charley Toomey, Loyola's head coach. "We hold the families of Newtown close to our hearts, and we draw from the strength that they have exhibited.
"When the youth took the field, I saw the excitement in our players' faces to work with them. It was the first time I've been able see our players after a long break, and it made me even more excited to take the field for practice on Monday. Once again, we want to thank (Newtown Youth Lacrosse Association's) Jeff Tousignant and Jim Wallace for assisting in our stay in their town."
The Greyhounds led a clinic for the Newtown players, working with various age groups from elementary-age through middle school, teaching skills and team concepts.
"For me, it was awesome because of the amount of smiles that we were able to see," Justin Ward, a senior co-captain, said. "I wasn't there last year to know exactly what it was like, but the coaches and parents talked about what their kids were able to experience. This was a great time to be with them, teach them a little bit about the game and just have fun. One of the Newtown coaches mentioned how strong the bond has become between their program and ours, and that is something that is very important to us as players."
Loyola's connection to the Newtown Youth Lacrosse Association has gone beyond the two clinics. More than 100 members of the Newtown community - children, coaches and parents - attended a Loyola home game last year, spending the weekend touring Baltimore and fellowshipping with the Greyhounds.
For his work last year, Crane was named the winner of the 2013 Yeardley Love Unsung Hero Award.