UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. — A clinic run by a former lacrosse player from Upper Saddle River that began with 15 girls has blossomed to 175 athletes in just five years.
“There were kids in the area who wanted to play and there was nowhere to go without some serious traveling, like going to Central Jersey,” Michelle Bradbury said.
The Stick 2 Stick program fields tournament teams from 5th grade through high school. It also offers clinics for third- and fourth-graders who play for fun.
Athletes come from across Bergen County to participate. Practices are ordinarily held outdoors in Ho-Ho-Kus and indoors in Ramsey or Waldwick.
“I wanted to try to do it right, really try to put the kids first," Bradbury said. "And it has just grown."
Bradbury played both field hockey and lacrosse through high school in Morristown and at Georgetown University. After moving to Upper Saddle River, she began running the Highlands Lacrosse Association before deciding to ratchet things up a notch.
“Stick 2 Stick is a lot more competitive,” said her daughter, Julia, a junior at Northern Highlands Regional High School. “Highlands just plays teams in the area like Ridgewood and Glen Rock. We play at much higher level of lacrosse."
Enthusiasm for the sport is all in the family: Julia's brother, Chris, plays for Middlebury College in Vermont.
“I always was interested because my mom played,” said Julia, who plans to attend Bucknell University on a lacrosse scholarship. “I started playing as soon as I could hold a stick.
“i just love the sport, I love the teammates,” she added. “I think it’s a great stress reliever."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.