NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) - Building up a varsity sports team isn't easy. Just ask New Hartford girls lacrosse. The Lady Spartans have helped raise the interest level of their sport in the Mohawk Valley.
Most of these girls starting playing the game at a time when there was no high school team. "It was a different sport, it wasn't something we all picked up right away, there were a lot of rules that came with it and we had to learn a lot about the sport," says senior Marykate Edmunds.
A lot has changed since those early days, with the Lady Spartans jelling as a unit, and laying a foundation for the future. "A lot of us have been on the team a few years. The JV program just started so we got moved up. Just coming together, we have a lot of talent on this team this year and it's all coming through and pulling together," says senior Emily Miller.
"Around here it's starting to become a dream of more and more girls that are playing. They want to get to that level and we get a bunch of girls for modified every year and if those numbers keep coming then these teams are going to be huge soon," adds Edmunds.
The Lady Spartans' hard work is already paying off, as they began the 2010 season with three straight victories. But more importantly, they're spreading the word about their sport.
"This year it's clicking, they've been playing as a team long enough, they know each other now and they're putting it all together and it showed in those last three games," says head coach Jeff Knapp, who started coaching this current group of seniors on the Midddle School modified team.
Knapp credits the girls for all their hard work, not only on the field, but also in building the interest level for potential players, as well as the fan interest.
"We've been working hard all season, trying to get girls to play, whether it's wall ball or pickup and hard work pays off," says senior Jessie Rys.
The Lady Spartans' goal for this year is simple. They're hoping to improve on last year's six wins, because seven will earn them a playoff berth. "If we can beat that goal and get seven wins and get sectionals, that would be amazing," says Rys.
Whether or not they accomplish those goals, New Hartford has already done an admirable job in jump starting a new sport, especially in a town already filled with great teams.