Girls lacrosse team finding success under co-op model

Megan Malartsik, Staff Reporter

The arrival of constant downpour, gray skies and cancellations left and right can only mean that spring sports are back.

However, one Elk Grove sport in particular looks just a little bit different this year.

After their debut seasons last year, both the boys and girls lacrosse teams at EGHS have decided to co-op with Wheeling to create a larger, more competitive team in the Mid-Suburban League.

The girls co-op team, coached by Wheeling teachers Jessica Stransky and Michael Bosco, was primarily created to give the athletes the opportunity to play competitively. The strategy has been extremely effective. 

“It was really intimidating at first, but then once we all started opening up to each other it has become a great experience and it’s great getting to know fellow peers from our district,”  junior lacrosse player Caera Crimmins said.

Going into the season, both the girls team’s players and coaches were unsure about the unusual nature of the co-op arrangement. However, early on in the season, the team has managed to string together some upgrades from last season.  

“One player said, ‘That was a fun win since last year we only won one game and it was only by one,’ so I think the girls were excited to get a solid win under our belt earlier this season,” Coach Stransky said after an 8-3 victory against Schaumburg High School. 

The full team now plays a more efficient game. They now have the flexibility to use substitutes and distribute playing time, and as of May 10, the girls squad has tallied an 8-2 record.

“Having more players has made the team feel like more of an actual high school sport, whereas last year, it felt more like a club or fun activity,” Crimmins said. 

Although combining two schools that are approximately 25 minutes away from each other may present difficulties, the coaches and players persevere and put dedication into every single practice and game. 

“I went into this position knowing my days would be a bit longer and I would be driving a lot,” Stransky said. “I am pretty used to it now and the driving doesn’t bother me. I have loved getting to know girls at a different school and meeting and working with other staff as well.”

Bosco, who is also a Spanish teacher at Wheeling, drives the Wildcats on a white bus to EGHS almost every day, except for when they have an away game in which they can meet the Grenadier girls at the site. 

Communication is extremely prevalent and important in being able to co-op, and both coaches have had to work out solutions and methods to effectively communicate with all of the girls. Bosco takes care of the Wheeling players and Stransky is in charge of communicating with the Elk Grove girls, ensuring that everyone is on the same page. 

The co-op has also provided the athletes with opportunities to step outside of their comfort zones and integrate with peers from Wheeling. 

“It’s really helped us build a stronger team because we’re forced to get to know new people which helps us overall with communication, teamwork and team bonding,” Crimmins said.

Players and coaches agree that the co-op team has completely transformed the program for the better, and it has given lacrosse players the ability and opportunity to build traction.

“This season has so far been great, it’s been a positive experience and some of the best memories I’ve had in high school so far,” Crimmins said.