"I grew up in Texas. And it's huge down there. I moved up here a few years ago. And it's grown ever since," said Bishop Kelley High School sophomore Sean Austin before lacrosse practice Wednesday afternoon.
What started out as a lone Tulsa youth lacrosse club, the Tulsa Bulldogs, has reached the point to where it's breaking off into some respective high school club programs: Jenks, Holland Hall, and Bishop Kelley. All three play their first ever games this Saturday.
"There's 33 kids in the program. Only about 6 have any prior experience playing," explained head coach Mathew Dent who resigned from the same position with the Tulsa Bulldogs to take the reins at Bishop Kelley. "It's been tough but it's really exciting to see the enthusiasm. The athletes here are unbelievable."
While the level interest is growing, a total of four teams in the Tulsa area isn't enough to sustain a league. So they've teamed up with programs in central Oklahoma in addition to Wichita, southwest Missouri, and northwest Arkansas. Collectively, they're the Heartland League.
The sport's newcomers at Bishop Kelley aren't setting the bar too high when they make their debut Saturday. "I just hope I do well; Play well and have fun," said sophomore Josh Christner.
According to Dent, "The expectations are to learn from it. You can't expect to go out there and be champions off the bat. It's going to be learning right away."