If people like Jay Sabitoni and the Aresons – Joseph and Amanda – have their way, lacrosse could become a new sports offering for the students at Nicholas A. Ferri Middle School in Johnston.
Sabitoni, who enjoyed success as a lacrosse player at La Salle Academy and later Providence College, is in his third full season as the boys’ head lacrosse coach at Johnston High School after beginning three years ago as the club team’s skipper.
The husband and wife Areson duo coach the varsity girls lacrosse team on Cherry Hill and like Sabitoni were thrilled with a recent donation that came to Ferri Middle School from the highly-respected Northern Rhode Island Lacrosse Club.
Sabitoni, who like other coaches at the school level realize the importance of a feeder-like program at the middle and youth sports league levels of any sport, had an idea that resulted in the Northern Rhode Island Lacrosse Club donating a total of 20 lacrosse sticks that can be used in physical education classes at Ferri Middle School.
Back a few weeks, Sabitoni had an idea, so he decided to contact his good friend Paul Morra who is actively involved and serves as president of the Northern Rhode Island Lacrosse Club.
“I had expressed to Paul that I wanted to create a lacrosse feeder system at Ferri Middle School for boys and girls so that when they get to (Johnston) high school they’ve got some experiences in the sport,” Sabitoni explained. “Paul said he’s contact the NRI Board of Directors and see about a donation.”
It wasn’t that long thereafter when, as Sabitoni wanted it known, “Northern RI Lacrosse came through big time with 10 boys and 10 girls sticks.”
Thus, going forward as an excited Sabitoni said earlier this week, “Our intention is to do a clinic with gym teachers (at Ferri Middle School) so they can introduce students to the sport and teach them the basic skills of lacrosse.”
In terms of popularity, lacrosse ranks high on the list at high schools as well as some of the nation’s top collegiate sports powerhouses.
Although no date for any such lacrosse class or clinic has been set, people like Sabitoni, the Aresons and even Johnston Parks & Recreation Director Dan Mazzulla are hoping its sometime soon to that lacrosse can develop on Cherry Hill and become part of the Panthers’ story-rich sports tradition that have enjoyed special successes since JHS opened its doors back in 1963.