In the program’s third year, local youth lacrosse parents finally got to see their kids take the field in their hometown.
“This is a first, I’m, obviously, really excited,” said Jasmine Kleckler, as her son, Wyatt, took the Ridgeview High football field for the Ravens White team. “It’s nice just building the program and seeing it rise within our community.”
Wyatt’s team was facing off against Ravens Purple, another fifth and sixth grade team run by Ravens Youth Lacrosse. The teams have been playing in the Bend Park and Recreation District lacrosse league, and have played all their games in Bend since the Ravens teams started.
The Ravens teams were scheduled to play May 31 in Bend, but they asked Rich Ekman with the park district if they could move the game closer to home.
“He said, ‘That’s a great idea,’” said Laurie Purcell, who started Ravens Youth Lacrosse with her husband, Scott.
The two fifth- and sixth-grade teams have a total of 33 players. The program has 71 total players, ranging from first to eighth-graders.
Along with the Bend parks district, Laurie Purcell said the program has been able to grow with assistance from the Redmond Park and Recreation District, as well as grants from US Lacrosse, the sports governing body, and money raised at events like Diego’s Car Show, which donated more than $7,000 raised from drawings over two years.
“Without all these pieces, this wouldn’t be happening,” Laurie Purcell said.
The money raised at the car show helped pay for balls, gear, insurance and registration fees, she said.
The matchup in Redmond was the final game of the season, which lasts eight or nine games. Though score isn’t officially kept in the games, Laurie Purcell said all the Ravens teams held their own against the Bend competition.
“I think we won some, we lost some,” she said. “I don’t think we were dominant, but I don’t think we got our behinds kicked. We’re right in the middle, which is pretty spectacular for Redmond teams.”
Though the other age groups have yet to play in Redmond, the Purcells have a goal of seeing the teams play more home games and continue to grow.
The Purcells started Ravens Youth Lacrosse after their own kids graduated and could no longer play on high school teams. The program has grown since 2016, when the Ravens only fielded two teams, one for third-and-fourth graders and the other for seventh-and-eighth graders.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” Laurie Purcell said.
Jasmine Kleckler said it’s been fun to see her son grow with the program the last three seasons.
“It’s been pretty amazing to see huge growth,” she said.
— Reporter: 541-548-2186, gfolsom@redmond spokesman.com