Lacrosse camp helping to ‘Crank Up’ girls’ game

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Tolland - posted Wed., Jul. 20, 2011
A series of increasingly longer cradling sprints helps build skills and confidence at the Crank-it Lacrosse Camp on July 18. Photos by Steve Smith.
A series of increasingly longer cradling sprints helps build skills and confidence at the Crank-it Lacrosse Camp on July 18. Photos by Steve Smith.

Becoming almost a tradition for some, the Crank-It Lacrosse Camp, headed by Tolland High School coach Victor Hurtuk, is in its fifth year of teaching fundamentals and tactics to young players.

Among the cradling, shooting and defensive drills, one of the camp’s emphases is on learning to use both hands equally as well (or as much as possible).

“If you teach them at a young age,” Hurtuk said, “they’ll get it ingrained in their minds, and it becomes part of their routine. If you watch the higher levels, they’re very proficient at both right-handed and left-handed [play]. If you use only one hand, it’s very easy to defend against.”

Hurtuk had their players work their weaker side, since their stronger side will naturally be better.

The camp has 37 participants this year, with more divisions among age groups. There is also a larger turnout of girls (13), and Hurtuk employed Victoria Cerwinksi – a high school and club lacrosse player and recent transplant from the Philadelphia area – to help.

“She’s giving the girls a lot of instruction,” said Victoria’s father, Henry Cerwinski, who also assists with the coaching at the camp. “They respond well to her, and she has a good grasp of the skills.”

“The girls love her,” Hurtuk said. “Henry and Victoria have been a huge godsend for the female lacrosse program in the town.”

“The growth of girls’ lacrosse in Tolland has been outstanding,” Cerwinski said. “There’s a lot of excitement from the parents and kids, and we see it getting bigger and bigger.”

The Cerwinskis moved to Tolland two years ago, and came from a place where the lacrosse climate is much more established.

Victoria played in youth, high school, and college club teams in the Philadelphia area.

“She played in the Philadelphia Catholic League, where they have 21 teams,” Henry said. “That’s like the premiere athletic league in Philadelphia.”

Hurtuk said Tolland’s youth program saw a record three girls’ teams this past spring, and there is groundswell to get a team in place at the high school.

“In a couple years is the goal,” Hurtuk said, adding that there are upcoming meetings to help make that push, and the support of families is what will make that happen. “All of the feedback I’ve gotten has been positive. We have a very strong support network with the parents. They love it.”


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