Trojan girls lacrosse coach to grow with program
When Jamie Odell decided she wanted to move from Lawrenceville, Ga. to the Chambersburg area to be close to her ailing mother, one of the things she wanted to check on was whether or not there was a lacrosse team her two daughters could join.
Little did she know that at the same time, Chambersburg athletic director Jeremy Flores was on the hunt to find a replacement for the Trojans' girls lacrosse coach, Katie Feairheller, who had resigned her position.
"I reached out on Facebook to see if there was a girls team for my daughters, and I guess my name was passed on to Jeremy and he called me," Odell said.
Odell was approved for the position at Wednesday night's school board meeting, but she's already been trying to get up to speed.
"Since having contact with Jeremy, I've gorged myself on the sport," Odell said. "We had to jump in real fast, so we started with open gyms three weeks ago."
Chambersburg is a young program (2017 is the team's fifth season) still trying to find a solid base, and Odell hopes it can grow as she grows into the head coaching position. Her prior lacrosse coaching experience has been at the first-through-fifth grade level.
"I played basketball and a lot of the footwork is the same," Odell said, "and I have a good background in sports. My step-daughter and niece both played lacrosse and my two daughters (one in fifth grade, the other in middle school) play, so I've been around the sport for over five years."
Flores said, "With our program being so new, I think building interest with the players and the coaches is still a challenge. I think the team will have a good mix of athletes, some who have gotten lacrosse experience and a lot of beginners."
That's what Odell noticed pretty quickly.
"It's almost like we're starting from scratch," she said. "We have only two seniors and about five or six players back. But we had 47 girls at our last open gym and we seem to be very athletic. The experienced players have shown a lot of patience and have been good at explaining things to the new girls.
"So far, I'd have to say I'm really impressed."
Odell has some ideas to push the learning curve. She is bringing in an assistant coach from Gettysburg College to run a clinic, she hopes to meet coaches of other Trojan sports - like basketball and soccer - because there may be some drills that use similar footwork to lacrosse, and she's been leaning on assistant coach Rachel Cross to get more familiar with the program.
"I think the biggest challenge is teaching them the fundamentals," Odell said. "Most of them have yet to step on the field and we have one month to get them scrimmage ready. But I have a lot of faith in them."
Notes: Odell said Chambersburg will host a scrimmage on March 18 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a school fundraiser will take place at the same time across the street from Trojan Stadium ... In the first four years, Trojan girls lacrosse has a total record of 11-54, with the best record 5-12 in 2015.