Spartans travel over 9,000 miles this season to play top competition
The Michigan State Men's lacrosse team is headed to southern California on Sunday for the 20th MCLA National Championship tournament. It's a long trip - 4,400 - miles round trip - but the Spartans are used to traveling this spring.
The team has already traveled 4,700 miles during the spring season including a spring break trip to play games in Atlanta Georgia, Auburn Alabama and Lynchburg and Blacksburg Virginia and an international match against The Hill Academy in Toronto Ontario.
The team also traveled to play the University of Pittsburgh and then back to Pittsburgh a second time for the CCLA Conference Championship tournament this past weekend at Highmark Stadium. Michigan trips included Central Michigan University, Oakland University and scrimmages against Albion College and Grand Valley State University.
"Our Club is committed to playing a top schedule each year and we realize that will involve significant travel" said Spartan Head Coach, Cam Holding. "With that said, we plan to adjust our scheduling to be more efficient in future years. For example, our spring break trip could be adjusted to play three or four games at one location, and have all the participating teams meet at that location for a festival format through the week. We don't necessarily have to travel to four different schools (and 2,600 miles) to get a good spring break trip of competition."
Because the Michigan State Lacrosse team is self-funded, they have to keep an eye on travel costs when creating their schedule. Assistant Head Coach & Defensive Coordinator Dan Catzere: "It's expensive to travel with 50 players and coaches. Each travel day costs the team a minimum of $3,500 for a motor coach and one hotel night. Add in an additional $200 per day for water & sports drinks, $600 for a nutritionally balanced team lunch and $1,100 for a team dinner and a week-long trip via motor coach can easily cost the team $35,000 or more."
Head Coach Cam Holding - who plays professional lacrosse for both the NLL Colorado Mammoth and the MLL Denver Outlaws - explains: "The balance of power in the MCLA Division 1 has shifted to the west coast. There are still very good Division 1 teams elsewhere in the Country but most of the top 10 teams are in Colorado, Arizona, California and Oregon because the only NCAA Division 1 men's lacrosse programs west of the Mississippi River are the University of Denver and the Air Force Academy. That leaves a lot of great lacrosse players out west who want to play a high level of competitive, college lacrosse who join MCLA Division 1 programs in those states."
Of the 16 Division 1 programs participating in the MCLA National Championship tournament, 11 are from the west coast. "The game of lacrosse has moved west and top high school programs are no longer based just in Long Island or Maryland" said Holding. "The growth of men's lacrosse nationally is an exciting trend and our team hopes to show the lacrosse community that we play pretty competitive lacrosse here in East Lansing Michigan."