The Trent Athletics Department is debuting a brand new varsity team this September: Women’s Lacrosse. A move that was described as promoting “gender equity” did not come without a price; Trent lost its swimming and fencing varsity co-ed teams. However, it’s about time Trent had a women’s lacrosse team.
The women’s lacrosse team is being coached by Tori Wasson and Ashley Curtis.
Wasson played for four years at the University of Vermont, a Division 1 field lacrosse school, and then returned to Canada to get her Masters in Education at the University of Toronto. She played for two years in the OUA there. Wasson then got a job here in Peterborough, where her family is originally from, and currently works as an elementary school teacher.
Curtis is also from Peterborough and teaches physical education at a local high school. She was a member of the Canadian under-19 women’s field lacrosse team and played two years at a Division 1 field lacrosse school, Canisius College in Buffalo.
“Peterborough has a small community of women’s lacrosse players. We met while both playing lacrosse, when she was 15 and I was 18. We kept in contact over the years and just ended up in Peterborough again” says Wasson.
Wasson and Curtis have been at the Kawartha Women’s Field Lacrosse Program for the last two years coaching high school girls.
“We saw how there was nothing for girls in high school here in Peterborough to look up to. It just stops there. We thought it would be a great opportunity to bring the higher level of lacrosse to Peterborough.”
They contacted Trent and told the Athletics Department that they were interested in starting a women’s lacrosse program.
“They were willing to talk to us. From there on, it just sort of came about. It was all just the right timing on our part.”
With Wasson being 26 years-old and Curtis being 23, the women they will be coaching this year will be a lot closer to their age than they’re used to.
“We’re trying to bring our game experience into our coaching while pulling every resource together to be constantly building our skills.
“We’re young, but we have lot of energy and I think it makes us relate with what the girls are going through because we haven’t forgotten yet! We’re empathetic of the girls wanting to do it all” Wasson tells Arthur.
So why did it take so long for a women’s lacrosse team to start up? What’s so different between the men and the women?
“The men’s game is more well-established. It’s more physical, whereas the women’s game has more finesse. With the men’s game, there’s a bigger pocket that makes the ball easier to catch and there’s hitting. With women’s lacrosse, it’s all about being a complete athlete; it’s a really fast game since we don’t have a lot of hitting. There’s still some contact, but not much because we don’t wear any protective equipment. It’s a lot like soccer, but passing the ball around with sticks!”
“Women’s lacrosse is still in growing stages here in Ontario. It’s getting there. It’s been around in Peterborough for about 15 years in high schools. It’s growing in the Oshawa and Whitby area. They have about 400 girls try out for rep leagues there.”
“It’s really big in Toronto and growing in the Oshawa area, so we’re just trying to drive it up the 115!”
Wasson and Curtis hope that starting the varsity program at Trent will inspire girls from Peterborough to play lacrosse and give high schoolers something to look up to.
As a varsity lacrosse team, the coaches hope to build a program that will be win an OUA championship in four years.
“We know we’re gonna do our best this year. We are trying to develop athletes that will come back year after year, and by word of mouth bring new athletes in freshman year. We want it to be long-lasting. ”
What does Wasson want people to know about lacrosse that they might not know?
“Lacrosse is one of those sports that if you’ve played another one, you can pick it up very fast.”