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Lacrosse Players Take Passion for Sport to Puerto Rico

October 11, 2017

Former Liberty University men’s lacrosse standouts Nate Lowmaster (’13) and Miguel Lozada (’14), who helped spark the revival of the Flames’ program in 2010, are on a mission to introduce the sport to youth and high school-aged players in Puerto Rico as well as those living on the U.S. mainland.

The pair started Puerto Rico Lacrosse (PRLAX), an organization focused on developing youth, high school, and collegiate teams on the island, in the summer of 2016.

“Half a million people have left the island over the past 10 years because of a lack of jobs,” said Lowmaster, who serves as president. “We’re trying to encourage more opportunities for people to stay in Puerto Rico — to bridge a gap. Lacrosse has a phenomenal power to unite a community. In forming a bond through the sport, we hope to learn the needs of the community and help find ways to meet those needs.”

Both Lowmaster, a business administration graduate who also works as a police officer in Corning, N.Y., and Lozada, the team’s vice president, have strong ties to the U.S. territory. Lozada, who is pursuing a law degree in Long Island, N.Y., was born and raised in Puerto Rico. (His younger brother, Isaac, is currently a sophomore midfielder for the Flames.) Lowmaster’s wife, Franceslyne, PRLAX’s ambassador and development coordinator, is also from the island.

According to its mission statement, PRLAX seeks “to inspire the people of Puerto Rico and provide hope, passion, and purpose, using lacrosse.”

In addition to forming teams at different age levels, an immediate goal of PRLAX is to recruit and train a Puerto Rican national team to compete in the 2018 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championships, set for July 12-21 in Netanya, Israel. PRLAX recently became the 56th member of the FIL, joining Bermuda, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, and Mexico in the league’s Central America and Caribbean region. Lozada would like to see the FIL program become an outreach to his homeland, using lacrosse to provide opportunities for fellowship and Christian character-building.

“We want to find a way to bring the Gospel, to motivate kids to play sports again and have a dream, and to develop life goals,” he said. “We’re starting to see that happen in Puerto Rico; essentially, a culture and a family are being formed.”

Flames Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach Kyle McQuillan hopes to take his team to Puerto Rico in the near future to assist in humanitarian efforts, including hurricane relief, as well as to help run youth lacrosse clinics and organize an officially sanctioned game between players from Liberty and PRLAX.

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