San Diego Lacrosse Hall of Famer Courtney Reidarson (HOF Class of 2010) has been named Director of Coaching for the Coronado Lacrosse Club. The non-profit youth organization is in its third year and according to Board Vice President Nicole Belong, last spring the club had 115 girls playing at four age group levels. Practice for the fall season is set to begin Aug. 19.
Specifically the team levels are kindergarten through second grade; third/fourth grades; fifth/sixth grades; and seventh/eighth grades. Belong said, “At each level we have multiple teams. At the kindergarten/second grade level the games are four-on-four with no goalie. By third grade it starts looking like lacrosse and it’s eight-on-eight with a goalie. In the fifth-sixth grade levels it’s 12-man, with the same number of players you see at the high school level.”
Taking on the challenge of coordinating the coaches and more importantly the on-field direction of the club as a whole is Reidarson, who is a lacrosse lifer, at least from college on, as she explained. “I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and attended high school in Georgetown at Northern California. I went to Dominican College in San Rafael to play basketball and I played volleyball there as well. I was playing in a pick-up basketball game in college against a guy who was a lacrosse referee and he said, ‘You should try lacrosse.’ I was just kind of done with basketball and they let me play around with the lacrosse team. My first year at UC Davis, I didn’t have many highlights, but I targeted this one girl on my team, who was our best player by far. I studied her and what made her so good. She could shoot and pass with either hand, making her hard to guard. So every day I ran, worked on my left hand and played wall ball. After my second year, I moved into being the center and I was one of the team’s high scorers.”
After her sophomore year, Reidarson tried out for and made the regional team that represented Southern California at the U.S. Women’s Lacrosse Association’s National Tournament. The team went on to win their division. “That was a big confidence booster for me, and I know I was the last girl selected for the team. We were seeded last and this was when nobody thought anyone from California could play lacrosse. It was so inspiring for me. My junior year, I became the first All-American lacrosse player from UC Davis. My first two years at Davis we beat Stanford to win the Western Women’s Lacrosse Championship. Junior year we lost to Stanford and my senior year we were seeded fourth and beat Cal Berkeley in the Finals. It was one of those dream end of season games where we were down, came back and scored with four seconds left on the clock. I didn’t score the goal, but I had the assist. I played the whole game.” Reidarson went on to graduate from UC Davis in 1996 with a degree in Physiology.
The early part of our interview included Reidarson remembering several of the people I have known over the years associated with Girls Lacrosse including: Kelley Queisser-McPeake, CHS ’01 and SD Lacrosse HOF Class of 2010; Alicia Ghio-Durante, CHS ’99, College All-American at San Diego State and current coach); Former CHS Girls Lacrosse Head Coach Jessica Battle-Morris (SD Lacrosse HOF Class of 2006); CHS Girls Lacrosse Program Founder Joanie Huck; and Susan Schelkun, avid program supporter and mother of two former CHS Lacrosse Players and current coaches Jessica Schelkun and Julia Schelkun. It seems women’s lacrosse players, coaches and referees are a closely knit group.
Courtney and her husband Tom Reidarson have two children, Cora Reidarson, 14, who will be a freshman at Coronado High School, and son Spencer Reidarson, who will be a sixth grader at Coronado Middle School. Tom formerly was the Head Veterinarian at Sea World San Diego and left that position when the family moved to the Caribbean for eight years. He now is an international consultant and veterinarian specializing in marine animals. Courtney said of her husband, who she met while in college at UC Davis, “He goes out to save animals, make them healthy and teaches other veterinarians to do that as well.”
During their previous tenure in San Diego, Courtney became a lacrosse referee, starting in 1997 and eventually working Division III college and upper level high school games. She said, “I was about to get my national certification when we decided to move. Coaching is more of my calling, although the one compliment I get the most from parents is that I teach the game while I’m refereeing.”
Reidarson is tasked with hiring 16 coaches, more if the program grows in size. “Ideally my job is to prepare the girls to play in high school,” Reidarson said. “CHS Varsity Head Coach Kirstyn Atkinson coached a team last year for the Coronado Lacrosse League and from what I have seen of her coaching style, we are very similar. Obviously, we want lacrosse to be fun for the younger kids, otherwise what’s the point? We want to give them a sense of team and teach fundamental skills. If they can leave at the end of the season on a positive note, with good skills, a knowledge of how to work together as a team and have them come back next year, that is pretty much all you can hope for. I would like to coach a team and if possible, I would like to create a team of players who would attend extra practices and compete in tournaments throughout the year. I see all the stuff the boys have, and we have as many youth teams as they do, so it’s a matter of putting it together. This is a big lacrosse community and in Coronado there is such great community support. The parents are involved, and the Coronado Lacrosse Club Board’s support is amazing.”
Another significant entry Reidarson’s resume is that she has run the Nike Lacrosse Camp in the summer for 20 years. So getting her coaching staff organized shouldn’t be a major challenge.
As for her adopted hometown, Reidarson said, “We’re back in Coronado and we’re never leaving. The kids will go to school here and graduate here. This is what I really wanted. I felt like I was coming home.”
The Coronado Lacrosse Club Board includes Jim Fabiszak (President), Nicole Belong (Vice President), Julie Abraham Crikelair (Secretary), Jennifer Hershman (Treasurer), and Kim Peterson (Director of Communications). When you read this, there are just 25 days remaining until the start of the Fall Season. To register a player, to volunteer your time or for additional information, please go to www.coronadolacrosseclub.com/.