By Ebony Carrington of Oowee Sports Nation
Team: Flower Mound Lacrosse and 214 Lacrosse (Dallas)
Team #: 12
School: Flower Mound High School
In lacrosse, defense is primarily about quickness, footwork, and determination — all things that Flower Mound High School freshman Gabrielle Jackson possesses. As defender for local Flower Mound girls’ lacrosse team and Dallas’ 214 Lacrosse, Jackson pushes herself to stay at the top of her game. As a minority in an already uncommon sport, Jackson realizes she’s in a pretty unique position.
“Lacrosse isn’t a very diverse sport — there aren’t many African Americans that play, but there’s so much opportunity,” Jackson (15) said. “It’s more popular on the East Coast, but that’s changing every day. It’s growing in popularity and that opens up doors.”
Lacrosse is the fastest-growing team sport in the U.S. with more than 500 NCAA varsity women’s programs.
Lacrosse is a rare sport where speed, agility, athleticism, skill, and attitude are showcased. It is very similar to soccer, which is where Jackson got her start. She’s now been playing for the past six years. She hopes to one day play collegiate lacrosse at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) — her top picks are Howard University, Hampton University or Xavier University.
In 2016, Hampton University was the first HBCU to reintroduce lacrosse back into their athletic programs. Currently, these HBCUs host D1 women’s lacrosse programs — Howard, Hampton, Delaware University, with Xavier being the latest addition in 2021. Not only is women’s lacrosse a fast-growing sport at the collegiate level, but at the high school level, too. Many D1 high schools are beginning to add lacrosse as a featured sport.
“For inspiration, I often look at other players in and around Texas that played lacrosse at the collegiate level or really any collegiate level player,” she said. “K. Chase Coleman (Team GRIT — Houston, TX) just committed to Howard. She is goals.”
Jackson’s Flower Mound girls’ lacrosse team has committed seven senior girls to all D1 schools. When her time comes, she hopes to be among the top committed to her choice of an HBCU.