Editor’s note: This is the last of a series of article profiling players that competed at the The Ride last week
By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits, Posted 7/30/13
Melina Avery said it was a landmark event for girls’ lacrosse.
Avery was one of seven Philly girls that competed last week at The Ride, a Nike invitational event held at its headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
“It was definitely great for girls to get some attention,” said the Harriton rising senior goalie, who helped her team win the 2013 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association championship. “Despite that I feel the boys are great athletes and do deserve a lot of attention, I feel too often girls don’t even get half of what they get.
“To be treated equally at a place like Nike was really special and I think they did a great job making us feel like we were equal. Hopefully this will help build up hype around girls lax and we can get some more support and fans.”
Avery was one of five Pennsylvania girls and seven from the area to experience the Nike push to promote itself in the lacrosse world. Others from PA included Garnet Valley’s Emily Mathewson (2016 Attack), Radnor’s Hannah Proctor (2015 defense), Spring-Ford’s Brianna Cirino (2016 Midfield) and Manheim Central Emily McBride (2015 Midfield).
The July 22-23 affair brought elite high school players from across the country to the Portland suburb to train, engage in skills competition, check out new equipment, play in an all-star game, and take home armfuls of free gear. The girls were first in lacrosse to receive SPARQ training; and this group will set a standard for more to come.
“It was great to hear that even though Nike has done SPARQ training with the boys before, they are now making the commitment to include girls,” said Mathewson. “Although the girls’ game of lacrosse is much different than the boys’ game, it’s awesome to know that Nike realizes that the girls are just as competitive and athletic and can also benefit from training such as SPARQ.”
“Being treated like a pro athlete is exactly how I felt,” added Mathewson. “Between all the new gear, the high energy of the Nike staff, and the complex in and of itself all led to that star treatment! Nike really rolled out the red carpet for us! I felt honored to be able to try out all their gear and to be a part of their focus group to give my feedback about their new products.”
Proctor, a member of the state finalist, was thrilled to see Nike give the girls equal attention.
“Right from the beginning, the whole Nike team was extremely welcoming and helpful,” she said. “Everyone on campus was so excited to have us there and watch us play. Nike treated us the same way they treat their sponsored athletes, which was a very unique experience for all of us.
“It was really special to be out at the Nike Headquarters with the boys and to be given the same treatment. All the girls who participated were extremely talent athletes and great lacrosse players and deserved to be recognized for their accomplishments.”
Other comments from Philly players:
Question: How will the event make your lacrosse game better?
Proctor: “The biggest thing I took away from The Ride was that hard work will always pay off. You can always be better, faster, or stronger and if you take the extra time outside of practice to work on these things you will have great success.”
Avery: “One of the coolest things we did was the SPARQ training, which is definitely something I can take with me in the future. Learning better ways to improve my strength and my speed than going to the gym is great for me, and all athletes trying to make themselves better.”
Mathewson: “We didn’t learn just one new skill or one technique to use to become a better lacrosse player, but rather a variety of methods to train the overall athlete. We took the baseline SPARQ test and then we trained to improve our scores.
“From The Ride I learned that as a lacrosse player I need to train in multiple areas beyond running sprints and wall ball. It didn’t hurt to learn some new stick tricks from (coaches) Kara Cannizzaro, Michelle Tumolo and Jenny Collins either!
“They were personable, knowledgeable, and filled with excitement that spread to us players! The competition was incredible! To be able to play on the same field as top D1 commits and the best in the game was awesome! The game was very competitive and filled with high energy!”