Gator Men's Club Lacrosse team celebrating a goal. Photo from UF Men's Club Lacrosse Team website.

FEATURE: New Era for UF Men’s Club Lacrosse Team

The UF Men’s Club Lacrosse Team has had a fantastic regular season with a record of 10-2. This has been one of most successful seasons for the program. The last time the Gators had such a season was back in 2010 with a regular season record of 9-3 under Coach Ryan Winters.

The team on the sideline during the UF vs. FSU game on April 14th.

Now, for the first time in seven years, the team has been able to set and accomplish goals they can achieve. This season, the Gators, with a strong underclassmen presence and new coaching staff have been able to revamp the team. Freshman Parker Kaleo talks about his experience as a new member of the team.

New Coach. New Direction.

Coach Hanrahan talking to his team during a timeout during the UF vs. FSU game on April 14

This year, former Gator Lacrosse player and current head coach, Garrett Hanrahan took over the Lacrosse program and focused on reshaping the team. Last year, the Gators had a transition season under Alex Breslin after long-time coach Ryan Winters retired. Coach Hanrahan was hired as the head coach and offensive coordinator back in May of 2016. Hanrahan has had a 13-year playing career starting from youth in Virginia to his four-year career at UF. During his time in Florida, he also was the captain for the team his senior year.

Florida also hired former Gator, Tom Rayburn, as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator. Rayburn has coached lacrosse for 10 years and has coached youth sports at all levels for 20 years. During his time at UF, he earned his commision in the United States Army though the university’s ROTC program. As a career Army Officer, he served the United States for 26 years.

Road to Revamp the Team

This season, the Gators had a strong pool of underclassmen to work with the veteran team members. Despite tough beginnings, the team was able to work together and mold each other to become a stronger unit.

For the first seven games this season, the team was able to maintain a perfect record. The record came to hult though towards the end of March when the team embarked on a four-game road trip. That game was against the University of Georgia in which the Bulldogs deafeated the Gators 14-13 on a neutral field. For the other three games on that roadtrip, the Gators were victorious—defeating in-state rival teams such as UCF, Miami, and FAU.

The Gators ended their regular season on April 14, in an epic home game battle against Florida State in which the Gators fell to the Seminoles, 10-8.

Now the Gators head to Atlanta to partake in the Southeastern Lacrosse Conference (SELC) Division 1 Tournament. Florida is set to play Virginia Tech in the first round of the tournament on Friday, April 21.

Club President: Henry Champagne

Henry Champagne, known to his teammates as “Hank”,  has been a powerhouse for the Gators. Throughout his undergraduate years at the University of Florida, Champagne has dedicated his time to the Club Lacrosse Team. As an attackman on the field, Champagne has led the team in stats for offense. In the 47 games he has played, he had locked in 78 points for the Gators, 37 of those goals are from this season alone.

Team’s Philanthropic Service

Not only has the program worked this season to reshape the team, but also to start giving back to the local community. This year, the team held their first annual Jamie Chapin Classic. In honor of a former UF player, the team held a golf tournament that raises money for the UF Health Research on Brain Cancer Brain Immunotherapy. Assistant Coach Willy Daniel said in an interview that he hopes this will be the start of a great tradition for the program.

Also, the team makes frequent trips to the Children’s Hospital at Shands to visit with the children patients.

Looking Forward

Florida coaches and teammates are pleased with their success this season and hope that this season will pave the way for future seasons.

UF players, Rob Peeters (45), Kyle Rintoul (23), and Nick Rizzo (42) on the field during the UF vs FSU game.

About Sophia LaFrance

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