Pioneers for life: How this group of girls helped give birth to a lacrosse program in the heart of a big city

Lacrosse is sometimes seen as a sport for those in suburbs, but these young women are bucking the trend

Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo (Jeff Burtka)

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As the announcement blared over the school’s PA system, Zahria Liggans became curious.

Two years ago, as sophomore at Detroit Cass Tech High School, Liggans heard an announcement about an informational meeting to see if there was interest among students in starting a girls lacrosse program, which drew an understandable reaction from Liggans, and probably many others in the school.

“What’s that about?” Liggans recalled wondering at the time.

You can’t blame her, or anyone else, for saying that, because it probably seemed akin to trying to sell Coca-Cola at a Pepsi convention.

Girls lacrosse is a sport traditionally played by schools in the suburbs and is dominated by white athletes, while Cass Tech is a school located in the heart of the city of Detroit and has mostly an African-American population of students.

It seemed like an impossible seed to try and plant, but not only did it take root, it blossomed into something that not even the Cass Tech community likely could envision at the time.


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