Little Loyola (4,000 students!) won big last year, taking home the NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse championship trophy — and now, nearly 9 months later, the New York Times is sitting up and paying attention.
Times sports writer Tom Flynn comes up with a few reasons why Loyola’s men’s lacrosse team has managed to hold its own — and even triumph over — schools with much larger student bodies and more significant resources. Step one: don’t have a football team, which just leaches resources from the truly important sport (lacrosse, duh); step two: build a fancy athletic training facility (have you seen the one at Loyola? it’s nuts!); step three: train like it’s the 1920s:
“Several times during the fall, the Greyhounds traveled up Interstate 83 from campus to Oregon Ridge Park, in the rolling hills northwest of the city. Oregon Ridge is the former site of a 19th-century ironworks, quarry and village. In the 1960s, a hill of several hundred feet in the park’s interior was the site of a small commercial ski resort. Abandoned ski lift equipment still lines its sides.
On trips to Oregon Ridge, the Greyhounds took some of the unusual assortment of cross-fit gear that the players regularly train with, which would be at home in a 1920s fitness manual. The players ran sprints up and down the park’s hill, tossed medicine balls and jostled with an assortment of heavy ropes. Some players built strength by carrying teammates in their arms,” Flynn writes.
By not relying on the weight room, Loyola’s coaches say, they ensure that their players build endurance and strength at the same time — a crucial formula for lacrosse conditioning.
“We’ve talked about the danger of being complacent,” Coach Charley Toomey told the Times. “It is very easy to follow the same practice and game plans from last year, but this is a new team, with new goals, starting from square one.” Well, they can check that box off: despite a nail-biter of a fourth quarter, Loyola held off Delaware to win its first game of the season. Go Greyhounds!