How the Gaits have revolutionized women’s lacrosse sticks

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first_imgSteve Levy watched his daughter Nicole glide across the turf, amazed at the chunk of plastic in her hands. Nicole, then a high school sophomore, was at a Syracuse-sponsored women’s lacrosse camp run by Orange head coach Gary Gait. She used an SU-branded stick, one of many sold at the camp, strung by Gait. Steve noticed how well the pocket held the ball and allowed Nicole to cradle from different angles. Hoping to recreate it for his players at East Islip (New York) High School, he snapped pictures of the stick head with his phone. He didn’t know then, but that pocket was the result of a near 30-year trial-and-error experiment by Gait, his twin brother Paul and other brother Bob Gait. No. 16 Syracuse (8-6, 0-4 Atlantic Coast) has 43 players on its roster. All of them use sticks strung by Gait. He uses pieces manufactured by his brothers’ company, Laxpocket. The interconnected twine, mesh and leather are the Gait family’s latest gift to lacrosse, a sport they defined and are now trying to innovate.“The modern pocket is a pocket that evolved from something that, you know, I came up with,” Gait said. “Now, I think every top school in D1 uses it.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMaryland, Hofstra and Florida are programs that also use Laxpocket stick heads. Some schools, like Michigan, commission the Laxpocket staff to string all its sticks. Others, like North Carolina, have specialists — who are often team assistants — order materials from Laxpocket and string the sticks themselves.Gait said he allows his players to string their own sticks, but they just prefer him to do it. Multiple SU players have said that Gait’s ability to have the pocket high up on a stick is invaluable. The stick pocket, according to NCAA rules, cannot be larger than 1.68-inches in diameter. Senior captain Riley Donahue said that Gait’s pockets are deep but not “illegally deep,” as no Syracuse stick has been flagged for being illegal this season.A deep pocket allows a player more control with the ball, giving attacks more leverage when they attack the goal. SU’s offense ranks second in the ACC and 18th overall with more than 15 scores a game. “Oh my gosh, it’s awesome,” freshman attack Mackenzie Baker said. “I’ve played with sticks in the past and then playing with sticks that he has worked on, it’s a huge difference.”The Gaits have had a history of modifying sticks to their advantage. Gary said he started stringing sticks as a child when he learned from older players. In college, while leading the Syracuse men’s team to two national titles, he and his brother Paul would discuss stringing techniques and design new equipment. Paul was photographed in 2001 while playing for Major League Lacrosse’s Long Island Lizards, and others noticed his new invention: a lime-green tracker pocket. After that, he was approached to design new products. He created a blended-leather mesh and transferred that to the women’s game. He founded Laxpocket in 2016 after working for a variety of athletic equipment companies. His company operates out of a barn and an office/showroom in Guiderland, and it hand-weaves clients’ custom stick heads using Paul’s patented rail-elite model. Bob Gait joined him and invented a pedaling-powered leather stretcher that allows the leather to flow through the stick head. Their sister, Debby, runs customer service. “It’s a family affair, to some degree,” Jenny Riitano Levy, a founding member of Laxpocket with no relation to SU’s Levy, said. “They are all amazing people, but their minds are unreal.”She said Gait has been a “testing ground” for their products. The modern rail pocket, which Laxpocket is trying to integrate into the men’s game, was the end result of a late-night conversation trying to find a suitable mix of leather and mesh materials.There is no way to tell how much Gait has meant to the evolution of sticks. The brothers are constantly talking about new ideas, just like they’ve done their whole lives.Gait said it takes him about 20 minutes to string a stick. He customized certain sticks to players, incorporating diamond meshes and alterations to the sidewalls. Throughout the last year, the modern sticks have bled over into the high school game, Riitano Levy said.SU-branded camp sticks, like the one Nicole Levy fell in love with and her father wanted to replicate, now are more than a souvenir. They are an entryway into a world that the Gaits helped create, and SU midfielder Taylor Gait, Gary’s daughter, knows it. “You know they are going to come to ‘Cuse because of the ‘Cuse stick,” she said. Comments Published on April 10, 2018 at 9:08 am Contact Nick: nialvare@syr.edu | @nick_a_alvarez Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Ceres-Negros rips Global Cebu, wins 1st PFL crown

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first_imgScottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Cone Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew LATEST STORIES Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Double celebration for F2 import Perez with MVP award and PSL title OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense Meralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours CONTRIBUTED PHOTOBACOLOD CITY – Add one more historic feat for Ceres-Negros in a year already full of glorious moments.Ruthless on the counterattack, the Busmen demolished rival Global Cebu, 4-1, last Saturday night to wrest the first Philippines Football League crown in front of a lively crowd at Panaad Stadium here.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson National team standout Iain Ramsay delivered a hat trick after Spanish striker Bienvenido Maranon opened the scoring four minutes into the match as the Busmen came up with a performance to remember against a worthy foe.The victory capped an impressive year for the Busmen, who also made history last August when they ruled the AFC Cup Asean zonal championship at the expense of Singapore’s Home United at Panaad.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkThe Busmen relied on quick counterattacks to pick apart a Global side that looked a step slow right from the get-go. For a change, Ceres allowed Global to settle into the match early before hitting the Cebu side on the counter.Ramsay found space on the left before teeing up Maranon inside the area. The Spanish striker’s volley past Patrick Deyto not only opened the scoring, but gave the Ceres star his 22nd goal of the season. Almost immediately, Global threatened with a long-range effort from Rufo Sanchez, whose shot rattled the crossbar.Another quick counter in the 20th minute opened up a golden opportunity, this time, for Ramsay to tuck home from close range to double the lead.Ramsay made it 3-0 on the night with another precise finish in the area as the Busmen moved on the cusp of glory.Just after the hour mark, Ramsay grabbed his hat trick after he was set up by the returning Patrick Reichelt inside the area.Daryl Roberts pulled a goal back for Global in the 89th minute, but it only delayed the inevitable as Ceres made history in front of more than 2,200 spectators that included Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READlast_img read more