Wadja do this summer? A look at soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse enrollment

Montana Milless was pursued by Jacob Buhl in a hotbox play, with Sam Wolters looking on, in a house league grade 8-9 game. They threw him out at third and went on to win 14-4. (Photo by Bruce Strand)


by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Enrollment of summer soccer and baseball programs are holding steady in Elk River, while softball is growing and a two-year-old lacrosse association is starting to divert kids from other sports.

Three Rivers Soccer Association, which includes Rogers along with Elk River, has around 1,500 participants, and as usual about two-thirds of them are girls. Outgoing association president Steve Zoubek said enrollment dipped by around a hundred two years ago and went back up this year. The peak in the last five years was about 1,800, he said.

“We’re down slightly, probably because of lacrosse and baseball,” he said.

Mikaila Herman carried the ball for an Elk River lacrosse team against Orono, which won 14-11. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Youth baseball has numbered around 650 kids the last three years, said Jim Brown, one of the association leaders.

“We have not seen it fall off,” said Brown. “It actually jumped a little the last few years, different than what you see nationally.”

Baseball is holding strong in Rogers, too, with around 800 kids each summer, reported Brian Harapat, high school coach.

A youth lacrosse association was started in 2011 with 50 boys and three age-group teams. This year girls were added. The numbers are about 100 boys and 50 girls, said Tim Nelson, an association leader. There’s five boys’ teams and three girls’ teams.

The softball program, which is known as Northwest Diamonds and includes Rogers, has doubled in size over the last 10 years, with 300 kids now, said Jerry Bruns, an association leader. They have six to eight house teams and 16 traveling teams.

Melissa Uphoff (left) and Brook Dorn chased the ball during a TRSA age 14’s team soccer practice. (Photo by Bruce Strand)