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Marion Students Enjoy Combined Girls Lacrosse Experience With Gananda

Four Marion Central School District students tried a new varsity sport this spring – girls lacrosse.

Juniors Ashley Cervantes and Alyna Hayes and freshmen Bella Keyser and Ava Sirkin had never tried the sport before, but jumped on the opportunity to join the combined Gananda-Marion team when it was offered to them.

“I thought it would be fun to try something new,” Sirkin said.

By all accounts it was, which is one of the main reasons Marion Athletic Director Lori DeLyser and Gananda AD John Tichacek work together to offer combined teams in girls tennis and softball and modified baseball.

“We wanted to provide Marion student-athletes, both boys and girls, with the opportunity to play lacrosse if they wanted to,” DeLyser said.

No boys were interested, but the four girls have been all in all season.

“It really has worked out well for both schools,” Tichacek said. “Lacrosse is a game that can be learned quickly and I have seen steady improvement in the team throughout the season. Our numbers were also a little low, so having the Marion girls join us really helped our team in terms of adding some depth.”

The team finished its season with an 0-17 record, but the players enjoyed learning the game and making new friends.

 “It was fun,” Cervantes said. “It doesn’t stress me out as much as other sports do. I feel like I know what I am doing now.”

Keyser, who plays soccer in the fall and snowboards in the winter, was looking for a spring sport and decided to try lacrosse after Sirkin encouraged her to join the team.

“I like the rush of getting the ball and trying to score,” Keyser said. “I also like the team and the coach. They are very positive and I love them. The whole team is very friendly.”

Hayes provided one of the highlights of the season when she scored a goal against Newark-Midlakes on March 31.

“I was a little clueless on how it went in,” Hayes said with a smile. “I just caught the ball and aimed it at the goal. I was like ‘Oh my gosh, I just scored that goal.’ It was the first goal for Marion and it made me feel very proud that I accomplished that.”

Both DeLyser and Tichacek said that they will continue to look for ways to work together to enhance the educational and athletic experience for students in both districts in the future.