Katie Rowan used to play for the Adirondack Region scholastic women's lacrosse team. Now, she's coaching it.
The Bethlehem Central High School and Syracuse University standout is making her head coaching debut with the Adirondack team heading to this week's Empire State Games in Buffalo.
It's so great to be so involved in lacrosse, said Rowan. "It's a little different than playing, but what's great is that I stioll get to do the drills and be involved."
Rowan's team features several players from Guilderland, Shaker and Niskayuna high schools " far different than when the Adirondack team was dominated by Bethlehem players.
"It's really great [to see] the talent spreading around," said Rowan.
Shaker has six players on this year's Adirondack team " Kaitlyn Cheney, Bridget Malicki, Demi Obrey, Charlotte Rehfuss, Lauren Smith and Adiranne Devine. Guilderland has four players, and Niskayuna has three players on the squad.
"The section is becoming stronger," said Devine of the diversity of schools represented on this year's team. "On any given day, any team can beat any other team."
The current crop of Adirondack Region players are grateful to have Rowan coaching them.
"It's been awesome to have her because she's one of the best players to come from here, and she's teaching us," said Niskayuna's Kayla Treanor.
And Rowan said she is grateful for the opportunity to be a head coach.
"I think coaching will help me with my playing," said Rowan, who is still active in summer lacrosse leagues as a player.
Adirondack opens the Empire State Games Thursday with games against Hudson Valley and Central " a team that Rowan's former Bethlehem and Syracuse teammate, Halley Quillinan, is familiar with. Quillinan has been working with the Central team as it gears up for this week.
"I think just the way the sport has grown across the state, just about every team has a chance at the gold medal," said Quillinan.
"We want to go out there, compete at the highest level and come back with a medal," said Rowan. "This is a great opportunity for the girls to see some to top-notch competition."