When Colton Raichl was in seventh grade, the employees of a local lacrosse shop in his home town of Bend, Oregon, came to his school. They let him use the equipment and taught him the art of lacrosse.
Raichl said this was the day he fell in love with lacrosse.
“Pretty much the moment I picked up the stick, I realized it was a lot different than any other sport,” Raichl said. “There are sports that have equipment that’s an extension, like a tennis racket or a golf club, but lacrosse is so unique.”
Raichl said the uniqueness comes from the variations of sticks to play with and the different ways to handle it.
“I just really like the creativity behind the game and knowing the history of it really made me intrigued to learn more and I just kind of ran with it ever since the eighth grade,” Raichl said. “I don’t think I haven’t played for an entire day for like 10 years.”
Fast-forward to 2011 and Raichl is searching for a university to complete his education. Idaho’s club lacrosse team happened to jump out at him.
“Lacrosse has kind of shaped every decision I’ve made in my life since I was probably a freshman in high school,” Raichl said, “Having a lacrosse team at U of I was a huge reason I came here.”
In addition to the lacrosse team, Raichl said he wanted to help make the sport more prominent on the West Coast. Lacrosse is typically seen as more popular on the East Coast. He said he wanted to stay relatively close to home as well.
“The culture up here seemed pretty cool,” Raichl said. “All the guys were really nice when I visited and we really hit it off on that first day of practice.”
Once Raichl came to Idaho he entered the Greek system and he became a member of Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE). He said when he was playing, many of his teammates were members of Beta Theta Pi.
While past teams have most often been made up of one or two fraternity houses, he said this year brought a lot more variety.
“This year we’re being a lot more spread out,” Raichl said. “We have pretty much one guy from each house on campus, and a couple guys from the dorms. I think it works better that way with the team camaraderie.”
During the 2016 season, Raichl was the assistant coach of the Idaho lacrosse team.
He said the experience helped prepare him for the position of head coach.
“I think it’s going to be a whole new type of gratification when you see your team win and you’re at the head of it rather than just being a part of it,” Raichl said.
As the fall season begins, Raichl said the team is taking a short hiatus from official games.
He said he is using this time as a transition period to prepare them for the intensity of the spring season.
“I was never the fastest kid or the most athletic kid out there, but I would always make my mark by knowing how the game was played,” Raichl said. “I think that aspect of my playing ability is going to come through in my coaching.”
He said he is excited for the coming season and what he can bring to the team.
“I want to take the team up to play off contention and winning some big games,” Raichl said. “I’m just excited to see how we progress over the next couple years.”
Mihaela Karst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mihaela_jo