The student news website of Omaha Central High School

Alum lands grant, begins lacrosse club

January 28, 2019

This spring, girls have the option of joining a new lacrosse club that is sponsored by Jenna Saraka. Charlie Dinnel is a Central graduate of 1994 who decided to approach Saraka about starting the club. Since his lacrosse-loving daughter will be attending the school next year, Dinnel started this club in hopes of further development into an official team at school. “She wants to play lacrosse in high school and, being an eagle myself,” Dinnel states, “I wanted her to be able to play lacrosse for Central in purple, as an eagle.” 

After watching “Invisible Sister” at age eleven, Dinnel’s daughter decided that she wanted to try to play lacrosse. In 2016, the duo went to the Omaha Lacrosse Club where she started playing lacrosse and he began coaching it. He explained that lacrosse is a growing sport in the Omaha-Metropolitan area so teams in the area are excited about the development of incoming leagues. Dinnel coaches offense at Westside and he expressed Westside’s acceptance of Central’s new club into the lacrosse scene of Omaha saying, “The Westside club is very supportive of my endeavor to start the club here.” 

Dinnel started the club with the help and support of staff members like Jenna Saraka and Dionne Kirksey, and of Michele Roberts of the Central High School Foundation. Dinnel believes that Saraka will be an asset to the club because of her experience playing lacrosse in high school and college. When evaluating Saraka’s part played in the early stages of the club, Dinnel comments, “I’ve been very fortunate to have her as the club sponsor, she played in high school and college and she is very passionate about the growth of the sport.” 

In lacrosse, games last about an hour and there are twenty-four players on the field throughout the game (twelve players from each team). The club is interested in competing with different high schools that have lacrosse programs, in addition to clubs in the Metro area. Dinnel says that ideally, the club would have eighteen to twenty members by this spring. At the first official meeting, twenty-nine girls showed up and more are welcome to attend the following meetings. “The intent of starting the club is to field a team,” Dinnel comments, “How quickly we can accomplish that really depends on the commitment of the members.”  

The girls lacrosse club was lucky enough to be awarded a First Stick Grant from US Lacrosse. This grant provides the club with 20 field sticks, 20 pairs of goggles, 20 US Lacrosse memberships and all necessary goalie equipment. Since lacrosse equipment is expensive, this grant helps to eliminate some possible barriers with beginning the club. Funding will still be needed for uniforms, field rentals and more. “We will need a lot of support and commitment to achieve our goals,” Dinnel emphasizes, “but I’m confident that Central is the school that can do it.” 

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