Bloomington, IN

The greatest and most underrated, prideful girls sports team across Bloomington, and you may have never heard of them

Braydyn The Bear Lents
The girls' team after practice one day in September 2021.Photo byBloomington Pride Girls' Lacrosse

As the nation watches its brackets get busted and Cinderella teams dance their way to the second round of the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

However, for many women across America, hearing about the product of sport and empowerment is never louder than in the town of Bloomington, Ind.

This is where, starting tomorrow at 11:30 am, another all-female team in the Indiana Hoosiers women’s basketball team will face off against Tennessee Tech in front of a packed crowd at Simon Skojdt Assembly Hall as the Hoosiers hope to win the first national championship since 1987.

The more you go through the town of Bloomington, away from the cream and crimson flags, banners, and anything with an IU logo on it, you will go deeper into the town. Away from the college campus, you find a group of girls before the struck time of dawn, in rain or snow. Sleet or hail, as this group of girls, unlike the IU women’s basketball team, have put in the work and hours, both in the classroom and on a soggy Bloomington High School North or South, varying on the day, football field, playing a game unlike any other.

With a ball and a stick, the girls start by volleying the ball around, getting some stretches, and talking about their day to the other group of girls playing in this group. They prepare for a little schedule change after another, in rain or snow, with such a tight budget and little respect from the rest of their schools.  

In a sport less known to the Monroe County world, away from the flashing lights and ruckus crowds inside what many call “The Cathedral of College Basketball” or “The Rock” in the Memorial Stadium football field where the Hoosiers play. Away from all of that, you meet a group of girls empowered, yet, strong-winded and will always have another’s back.

What might be this team? What might be this sport? Well, let’s say you have never heard of this group of girls, as they are the greatest female sports story in all of Bloomington, Ind.
The 2021 team playing lacrosse in the snow during their first practice since the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted play in 2020.Photo byBloomington Pride Girls' Lacrosse Team

They have not won any championships to speak of, nor do they pack the stands for games, but these girls in their purple and white jerseys sporting Bloomington South are the greatest team for one reason. Bondage and love power more than championships and crowns.

These girls stay in touch and are in touch with their friends every single day on and off the field.

Meet the Bloomington High School Girls Pride Lacrosse Team.

Technically, according to the Bloomington Lacrosse club website, the team did not get founded until 2001, with the first all-boys lacrosse team, the Bloomington Outlaws coached by the first coach in Bloomington lacrosse history, Jason Zanon, started playing in matchups as back as 2004.

In 2010, lacrosse was growing in popularity as many middle school and high school students wanted to play in more than just middle schools and the team was thinking of including a team with players from the opposite sex. That year Bloomington Lacrosse founded the first women’s lacrosse team, coached by Anne Marie Colling and managed by Natalie Blais.

Today, the team is known as Team Pride Lax according to their Instagram page.

Since 2014, the team combined Bloomington North and South High Schools' lacrosse teams and meshed them into one group, now known as the Bloomington High School Lacrosse team. This after backlash by The Indiana High School Lacrosse Association notified the club to combine both schools to split formed individual teams instead of being known as just the “Bloomington Outlaws.”

The team has always been full of confident, work-driven boys and girls who want to compete against other schools in a club-like format. The girl's pride lacrosse team had the most popular among players and teachers by doing one thing right, and it was more than just traveling and winning games, having pride.

Pride in themselves, their girlfriends, and their team. The team is more of a club sport than one credited by the IHSAA, but the level of pride these girls had to book in study time and be with each other can be an enormous growth to young girls all over the country.
Player Julia Layton (far right) and three teammates are in a vehicle taking a selfie. Layton has since graduated from Bloomington North.Photo byJulia Layton/Bloomington Pride Girls' Lacrosse Team Instagram

They joke, laugh, sing, and play the sport, but also hit hard on the textbooks and care about being work driven and compassionate with others.

Even during a canceled season due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Team Pride continued to put in work and still hung out with each other even during the hardest time for many to go through as seen on their Instagram pages.

They gave tributes, hung out, and continued working out even though in 2020 they did not have a season.

Now the biggest question for many is if Bloomington Lacrosse can stay in the public school long term due to the growing pandemic financial losses and even inflation, it can get harder for many lacrosse clubs and teams across the country to continue staying open.
The Pride lacrosse team after winning the program's first INGLA Sectional title in program history during the 2021 Indiana tournament.Photo byBloomington Pride Girls' Lacrosse Instagram page

One thing these girls do have from all of these challenges is each other.

When COVID-19 began to come to become a lesser-known issue in 2021, the girls won their first-ever Indiana State Girls Lacrosse Association sectional title in program history.

One thing that girls' teams had was the close bondage between women and sport.

They may not be perfect on paper, but throughout my time covering the team, this girl's team had something even the basketball team did not have. Their record shows 2-12, but their heart shows 15-0 as they look out, speak up, and fight not just to win but for each other too.

Call this girls' lacrosse team the GOAT of female lacrosse in Monroe County.

The lacrosse team's next match will be at East Tipp Middle School in Lafayette, Ind. as the Pride Girls Lacrosse team plays against Lafayette Harrison on Saturday, March 24 at noon.

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Student at Indiana University Bloomington, journalism major, Class of 2024, sports media minor, staff writer/journalist for Hoosiers Network, freelancer "It's called the American Dream cause you have to be asleep to believe it." -- George Carlin

Bloomington, IN

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