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Kingfisher brings lacrosse to Eastern Iowa youth
New club has players from Cedar Rapids and Iowa City spread across several teams
When Jeff Kueter and his family moved back to Eastern Iowa in 2014, he made his young daughter a promise.
He would find a place for her to continue playing lacrosse.
A 1989 graduate of Cedar Rapids Washington, Kueter knew Iowa wasn’t exactly a hotbed for lacrosse. But a promise is a promise, so Kueter found a club in West Des Moines and the commute began.
Seven years later, he and “the right mix of people at the right time” have started Kingfisher Lacrosse, the “operational name of the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Lacrosse Club.”
Kueter is president of the club, but emphasized “it’s not a one-person job.” The club has eight coaches, many of whom brought lacrosse to the area with “learn to play” clinics.
“I’ve seen how it benefited her,” Kueter said of Kate. “I knew that we needed it here.”
On Saturday, Kingfisher Lacrosse hosted its first event, the Solon Jamboree at the Solon Nature and Recreation Area. Kueter is thrilled — and a bit surprised — the tournament happened so soon.
“In Iowa, (the sport) has exploded,” he said.
Kingfisher has 50 boys and girls registered, ranging in age from 6 to 15. He admitted lacrosse was a “hard sell,” but “we’re really excited about the turnout we’ve had.
“A lot of them were just looking for something to do. This might be it.”
A popular sport out east, lacrosse has roots among Native Americans and was a “contest played by tribal warriors for training, recreation and religious reasons,” according to World Lacrosse. It has elements of basketball, soccer and hockey.
Cornell College started men’s and women’s programs a few years ago and Upper Iowa has a new team. Other colleges in Iowa also offer the sport, which, Kueter said, is “consistently measured as the fastest growing sport in the United States.”
Saturday’s jamboree had teams from Ankeny, Waukee, Des Moines and Meskwaki, the only other club in The Gazette area.
There also are boys’ teams in Ames, Dubuque and the Quad Cities and a girls’ club in Adel.
Kueter said Kingfisher is the “umbrella” for interested players in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and surrounding areas. A Kingfisher, by the way, is a bird family that “contains 114 species and is divided into three subfamilies.”
Kueter liked the name because “it’s a symbol that could carry the entire geographical area” and not focus on one city or one school. That is the goal down the road, however, building city and school teams.
The end goal is for lacrosse to become a state-sanctioned high school sport.
“That’s the goal — all across the state,” he said.
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