While nothing is set in stone and all options are open, the potential for an Eastern Iowa lacrosse league/division is higher than it has ever been. Dubuque already has full scale development and a men’s varsity team on the way. The Quad Cities already have a men’s varsity team and now have several parties interested in youth and high school lacrosse. There is interest in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City metro and the Hawkeyes are on board to lend their support. And the Waterloo/Cedar Falls metro has a few people keen on bringing the sport to Northern Iowa.
All four cities are relatively close to each other. The longest drive is two hours from Waterloo to the Quad Cities, but the bulk of the travel will be around 90 minutes. Should each city field at least one team, these are very doable distances. By comparison, Valley currently drives two hours for games in Omaha and three hours for games in Lincoln.
Of course the biggest issue affecting all four cities, as well as Des Moines and anywhere else in the state, is personnel. Iowa lacks experienced officials and coaches and it is proving difficult to identify and develop them. I am hopeful that the concentration of MCLA alumni in the eastern portion of the state will help ease the problem for the new areas. The existence of the two NCAA programs should help development progress fairly quickly…
I am currently having conversations with representatives in both the Waterloo and Cedar Rapids areas about running clinics this fall. As I mentioned in my previous post, the University of Iowa lacrosse team plans to assist with the latter. They are even talking about continuing clinics to meet demand. As a bonus, there are at least a couple of potential, experienced coaches in the area! Waterloo has fewer “built-in” resources, but I am diligently working to identify key individuals capable of taking control of the program up there as well.
Last fall, the athletic director at a private school in the Quad Cities contacted me about starting a lacrosse team. I put him in touch with an Augustana alum that contacted me last week. Unfortunately one of the other adults that contacted me about starting a program has since relocated and I have been unable to reach another. Still, the area has a lot of potential given its wide net and strong sports history.
Unfortunately there seems to be little interest in southern Iowa at the moment. Since there is virtually no development news to report, I will discuss the potential of the region.
A couple of years ago I spoke with individuals in Knoxville, Albia, and Pellaabout starting programs, but nothing ever came to fruition. Even worse, I seem to have lost the relevant contact information. None are terribly far from Des Moines and each would be a great addition to an Iowa-based lacrosse league, geographically speaking.
Ottumwa would be another good location. The high school currently competes in the same division as the Des Moines Public Schools despite being over an hour and a half away. The city is also only a couple of hours from Cedar Rapids, making games against Eastern Iowa teams feasible.
At this point, the only activity I am aware of at the moment is at the college level. Some of you may recall that three players from Graceland University in Lamoni joined our Box Lacrosse League this winter. Of course they were interested in starting a club team, but have not been successful yet.
Lamoni is only two hours from Kansas City, three hours from Omaha, and an hour and a half from Des Moines. If a high school could be established there, both the Nebraska league and the Kansas league could be in play. Regardless, Valley (and other potential Des Moines teams) would be an annual opponent. And
if when an Iowa-based league comes about, the city would be a great neutral site for games against Kansas and Missouri teams. Unfortunately Lamoni would be a virtual island; the closest sizable town, Osceola, is 40 minutes north…
I am hopeful that there will be some movement in the southern part of the state before too long. It would be great to receive an email from somebody living in southern Iowa that read this post asking about a new player clinic…