CCS continues building process
Cyrus McKinney grew up in Worthington participating in both lacrosse and wrestling before wrestling won out.
When he moved to Denver in 1997, his interest in lacrosse was reignited and he coached the club team formed by two local high schools.
"It was the first chance I had to see an urban public school offering lacrosse," McKinney said.
After moving back to Columbus in 2000, while teaching in Columbus City Schools, McKinney got the idea of recreating here what he saw in Denver. He worked with Michael Kinney and J.B. Jones to form the CCS Terrapins, a club lacrosse team open to any student attending a CCS high school.
"We built the Terps from the ground up and we've been in existence for three seasons now," McKinney said.
Not having as much coaching experience as his co-founders, McKinney was comfortable letting Kinney and Jones take the lead.
"They set up the website," McKinney said. "They bought the jerseys. They did a lot of work."
Kinney left after the first season to coach the Olentangy boys team and Jones left after the second season to lead the Columbus Academy boys program, leaving McKinney as the head coach this past season.
"Fortunately, coach Corby came along," McKinney said. "He's got a little bit deeper knowledge of the fundamentals of the game. He was able to step in and provide a lot of energy to the program."
Robert Corby plays with Jones and McKinney on the Columbus Old Dogs, a 35-and-older lacrosse team, and had never coached before. But he welcomed the opportunity.
"Cy needed help and asked me if I wanted to help out," he said.
Though created for CCS students, since the Terps are a club team, Ohio High School Lacrosse Association rules allow any student in the area whose school does not have a program to qualify for the roster. So while players from Brookhaven (Victor Gonzales, Malik McGill, Jerimiah Sopko, Jessie VanGundy, DeOnjae Simms and Nick William), Beechcroft (James Barnhart), Whetstone (Ed McGlynn and Suding Seiter), Downtown (Alexander Ashline, Jordan Kahle and Isaac Keeno), Northland (Aaron Barcus and Julian Henderson) and Metro (Dean Shaffer) made up the majority of the squad in the spring, other schools like Hartley (Jake Bommer) and Canal Winchester (Jacob Henderson) also were represented.
"I think it's fantastic," McKinney said of the team's makeup. "They've created a good core. Some of the older players have helped lay the foundation for the team. Having them come from different backgrounds, they were able to draw from that."
The Terps finished the past season 1-8 overall, their lone win a 7-5 road victory over Clinton County. In a play-in game for the OHSLA boys club tournament, they were beaten by Big Walnut 12-3. It wasn't the season the coaches were hoping for following a 7-7 finish in 2011, but the experience was priceless, according to Corby.
"As far as from day one, when we started practices to the end of the year, we improved tremendously," he said. "The record may not show it, but as far as teamwork and everything else, we improved drastically throughout the year."
The coaches are looking to expand the roster, and they hope a youth program and a middle school team become options in the future. Another goal is making the program a nonprofit organization so donations can be collected.
"We just want to give kids another outlet," McKinney said. "I want to keep the door open for kids to experience this great game."