Local product helps bring DI lacrosse to Tallahassee for first time

By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
January 14, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- For the first time in the history of the capital city, Division I men's lacrosse ran it's way into town.

The state's only Division I men's program, Jacksonville University, trekked across I-10 to take on the Colgate Raiders, who boast a local connection in former Maclay Marauder star Lewis Langford, who returned to his home field for the first time since graduating.

"It's weird to be back, having the Colgate players play under the Marauder logo, but it's really cool at the same time," Langford said. "It's cool coming back to where I started and acknowledge where I'm at right now."

Langford, a senior for the Raiders, says he took it upon himself to educate his northern brethren about life down south.

"There are those misconceptions that alligators are everywhere and Disney World is right around the corner," he said of his teammate's views, "But I've definitely been coaching them culturally. They don't know what an oak tree is, they don't know a lot about the panhandle in general, but it's really fun to do that."

While cultural differences divide, the spirit of charity and giving back unites, something Raiders head coach Matt Karweck has instilled in students in the program.

"The education you get at Colgate, it wraps around community service, and being aware of what's going on in the world," he said. "Not just regional community, certainly the global communities of this world, so we wanted to make sure we could do something.

"When I called John Galloway at Jacksonville, I said, 'What do you think of coming to Tallahassee and meeting us for the first ever game in Tallahassee, first ever Division I lacrosse game,' and he thought it was a fantastic idea," Karweck continued. "I said not only that, what we're going to do is we're going to sell tickets, we're gonna sling some t-shirts, and all proceeds are going right back to the Mossy Pond Fire Department."

The team's attempts at helping the department recover from Hurricane Michael didn't stop on the field. Tuesday morning, prior to the game, the team helped install a temporary firehouse with the department.

And, at halftime of Tuesday's game, the department were named honorary members of the Colgate family.

While the service went the extra mile, so too does the impact of bringing the fastest sport on two feet to town, something Langford hopes happens sooner rather than later.

"I don't try to be anyone's hero by any means, but I think my story is something other kids can hope to follow and I hope to spread the game here as much as possible, and I'd like to accelerate that growth, being a product of that growth when I was coming up," Langford said.