This spring, Ashley Hall is joining a new rec-level youth lacrosse league – and there was a new face on campus at the start of the year to let students know what it’s all about.

For two weeks in January, Director of Lacrosse at South Carolina Youth Lacrosse Taylor Blenckstone joined Panthers in grades 2-6 as a guest coach during Physical Education classes to share her love for lacrosse. Originally from Maryland, Blenckstone played Division I lacrosse at Longwood University in Virginia. She’s been coaching ever since. “Coming from Maryland, lacrosse is huge,” Blenckstone says. “But my goal in coming here is to make it as big in South Carolina as it is there. I hope to help grow the game as much as possible.”

Since joining South Carolina Youth Lacrosse in November, she’s hit the ground running to sign up students in local schools to play this spring in a league she’s building from scratch, and getting into classrooms was step one. “Young athletes are just so willing to learn, and they love to do new things,” Blenckstone says. “That’s why you start in P.E. I’ve found that every time a new kid gets a lacrosse stick in their hands, they’re hooked.”

From grip to cradling the ball with confidence, students spent the first few days learning the basics of lacrosse. Soon they were learning how to pass in three basic steps: step, release, and follow through. “Then in week two, I made it a little more fun and interactive,” Blenckstone says. “I wanted to see if they retained what we did and could apply it to certain drills and games.”

The verdict? The Panthers passed with flying colors. “Seeing them catch their first ball or get a really good pass and be excited about it, that means everything,” Blenckstone says. “That’s exactly why I’m doing what I’m doing – to see their excitement and see their engagement in something new and hopefully have them stick with it.”

Interesting in signing up your athlete to play this spring? Get more information on how to register here