Tenacity Staff: Being a Presence (part 3)

The craziness of the spring season is here, and the Tenacity staff is somewhere every day of the week coaching at youth practices, high school practices, watching current players in their games, and watching alumni on their college teams!  I am often overwhelmed by how much there is to do in a day as we try to prepare for the summer practices, camps, tournaments AND try to be a presence in the girls’ lives during the spring seasons!  But the interaction with the girls is the fun part, and while giving our coaches’ jobs context and meaning, I also think it’s the consistent presence- POSITIVE presence- that makes the difference for the players on a daily basis.  I have been very inspired recently watching coaches and Tenacity staff members demonstrate PRESENCE in many ways!

As my journey on the east coast continues and I add trains and cars to plane rides across the country, I have been able to watch more college lacrosse, see more Tenacity alumni, and meet with coaches who have given us tons of material to bring back to our programs.  Our staff in California, Texas and Oregon are working equally hard, possibly driving almost as much as I have been as they continue working with the youth and high school programs in each of the areas we call “Tenacity Regions.”  The next three Tenacity folks I want to highlight today are more members of the amazing team of people we have working with and for the next generation of girl’s lacrosse players…

TAYLOR DONAHUE played for THE Ohio State University where she was a standout defender and Physical Geography Major, which is in the Environmental Studies field.  Taylor lives in the San Francisco Bay Area but has been running our Tenacity Sacramento region since she moved here from New Jersey, so her PRESENCE is in many places.  Taylor has tenacity and toughness- the things I think coaches are constantly looking for in prospects, and trying to teach their current players on a daily basis.  But she’s also figured out how to show care for her players that balances the tough things she demands from them.  Coaches and players in Davis, Sacramento, El Dorado Hills, Granite Bay, Pleasanton, and Danville have gotten to work with Taylor in the few short months that she’s been in California- lucky them!  Taylor’s FOCUS, and precociousness have enabled her to become a major contributor in the Tenacity business organization and we can’t wait to see what she does next!

We have an Irish lass from upstate New York named… MIKEY MEAGHER.  Mikey’s presence has been all positive since she joined Tenacity in January, and that’s significant since she came from a place that is actually warmer than the Bay Area this time of year- Florida!  Mikey has been the sunshine for our office and on the field with players amidst all the rain, and the goalies are especially lucky to have a former Final Four goal keeper in their midst.  Mikey spent time coaching at the collegiate level as an Assistant Coach for Jacksonville University which gave her an understanding of college athletics on the other side after being a recruit and player herself for the University of Florida.  Mikey has had a presence in the East Bay and North Bay this fall, and she’s also doing some appearances in San Francisco- all in all, covering practices and clinics for Novato, Ross Valley, Scorpion, Pride, Skyline, Lamorinda and a number of high schools in each of those areas too!  

KRISTIN MARCHESE joined Tenacity Houston as a coach a couple of years ago, and the full time staff this past summer after working at the Village School.  Kristin played for the club lacrosse team at the University of South Carolina.  She then spent time coaching at NCAA Division II program Newberry College, while also directing the Intramural Sports programs for the whole school.  During the spring, she’s the Head Coach of the Lamar High School team in Houston, Texas and she directs our Tenacity Select Team programs, camps, and events in the “off season.”  Kristin also has a presence with youth programs SBMSA and HYLAX, so it might start to feel like she is EVERYWHERE in our Houston region!  Her power word is INTENSITY, and she brings this to every practice, meeting, and event that she does in a very relatable way for the girls.  Kristin’s commitment to fitness and competition outside of her Tenacity job makes her a great role model for every girl who comes through our program, and it has been awesome to see how she demonstrates the “way of Tenacity” 24/7.


Theresa Sherry, CEO & Founder
March 16th, 2017



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Be Ready for Your Moment

Be ready for your moment

Maybe you are a freshman in high school waiting to get called off the bench.

Maybe you are a college player working your way back from an injury.

Maybe you are a national team member waiting to get your first international cap.

Maybe you start every game, and play every minute… whatever it is, BE READY FOR YOUR MOMENT.

I went to the USWNT soccer game the other night and was in a stadium with over 20,000 people- TONS of little girls out on a school night to watch TEAM USA.  I got chills when the teams walked onto the fields to songs like Brave (Sara Bareilles) and Fight Song (Rachel Platten).  It made me think about the stories of each of the women on the teams, and where they might be in their athletic careers.  I knew a couple girls were going to get their “first shot” that night, and I also knew there were people like Carly Lloyd out there who had done it many times before.  But in either case, they needed to be ready for their moment- ready to make an impact.  And we all need to be ready for when a moment presents itself, and we have to be ready EVERY day.  France came out hotter than the U.S. and won the game 3-0.  Any individual on the USA team who didn’t bring everything that night was punished by the French players who executed with passion and energy.  It’s not going to be story book if you don’t prepare tenaciously, and play with grit every time you step on the field.  I bet the U.S. players won’t let that happen again for a long time!   

The day after the soccer game, I went to a Georgetown University practice because I’m always trying to pick up new drills and ways to run training sessions (#AskQuestions).  Then my sister and I went to the Maryland/Boston College game (#WatchTheBest) where we got to connect with some of our Tenacity Alumni!  I again noticed some players firing on all cylinders from whistle to whistle, and then other players who had lapses-probably just a lack of mental focus in that moment.  Even in a practice situation, it’s so crucial to go game speed, because you never know when that great practice moment will translate into something you NEED in a game.  And little moments in the games will be the difference between a win and a loss at the end, but you shouldn’t have to check the scoreboard constantly if you are giving everything you have.  

One of my favorite sports memories is with my Princeton team when we played University of Maryland my senior year.  We had been 1-1 with the Terps in the two previous seasons, but we were the defending National Champions two years running, and undefeated going into this game in 2004.  There was a player on the Maryland team who was setting some sort of record with points in consecutive games that spanned three years or something crazy, and I know we had a target on our backs.  We had an awesome game plan that night involving multiple players working to stop their top threat, and EVERYONE won their individual moments throughout the game.  In the final seconds of overtime, we were tied, with the ball, but amidst the chaos, I remember the calm- it’s one of those memories that is slow motion for me.  I remember wanting the ball, driving SO hard but without a plan… seeing 3 defenders closing in… and passing to Tara Hardiman alone by the cage.  Tara finished with fury, and we were all SO PUMPED- that play, and the defensive victories ALL game- were such a great show of team work combined with individual focus and accountability, it may be my favorite!

I got to meet Tara Hardman Chadwick’s first baby last night, and as I head to Princeton today, the memories are rushing back combined with the ones from this week of watching soccer and lacrosse with my former coaches, friends, fellow alumni, and girls I have coached!  I can’t wait to see Tenacity alumni, Bryn Mawr alumni, US Under 19 team alumni, and the awesome coaches out there tomorrow making the most of their moments.  

I know many of our Tenacity Houston girls had games last night, our Tenacity California girls are prepping for Friday night games, or weekend NCJLA games, and our Portland Tenacity girls are gearing up for OGYLA Academy tryouts next Sunday!!  

Wherever you are, and at whatever point in your lacrosse journey, keep working hard one day at a time… work hard WITH A PURPOSE, to be READY FOR YOUR MOMENT!!


Tenacity Staff: Being a Presence (part 2)

“Have success and there will always be fools who say that you have talent.”  I’m pretty sure this is my favorite quote EVER (for anyone who knows me, you know why).  We talk about working smart in our Tenacity programs working HARD is something that sets our most successful players apart, and it certainly sets our coaches apart.  It has been very rewarding to watch players who have some natural gifts, but GREAT work ethic, pass up others who might have started with more “talent.”  A great work ethic is something our Tenacity coaches ALL have in common, and they have figured out that this consistent work towards a common goal is the key to becoming the best.  

I’ve watched DANA KILSBY chip away since she joined The Tenacity Project as a full time employee in the fall of 2015, and she’s now leading a region for us south of San Francisco.  She has developed a presence on the field, and she has truly made her presence felt by being involved with the Redhawks, Firehawks, Coyotes, and many of the high school programs on the Peninsula and in areas surrounding San Jose.   Dana’s super power is PRECISION, and less than two years out of college, she is keeping her colleagues accountable for much of what it takes to manage all the teams, camps, and tournaments we run.  Dana clearly has talent, but her work ethic surpasses most of her peers, which is probably what made her a three time All American at Santa Clara University!

ROB BRAY joined Tenacity this past summer after over a dozen years at the University of Oregon and he continues to make the transition from Division I college coaching to youth and high school with a great deal of intentional effort!  In February, Rob was running the drills at the Tenacity Portland tryouts, and he is certainly making his presence felt all over Oregon with the work he is doing with all of our team and camp programs.  He will also spearhead the OGYLA Academy this spring making a mark on player development at the middle school age groups that should raise the entire level of lacrosse in Portland and surrounding areas.  And for us nationally, Rob is leading Tenacity initiatives to use film for player development, and committees for college counseling.    

One of our earliest coaches in Houston, BETH LESTER, is a force us because she’s continued to evolve as a lacrosse coach as time passes- something that is completely necessary in our ever-changing women’s lacrosse game.  Beth puts the work in to learn from college coaches, watch games at all levels, and she’s a presence at both youth and high school games- especially as the Head Coach at Memorial High School.  A former standout at the University of Massachusetts, and a championship player and coach at the high school level in New Hampshire, Beth is an asset to Houston area lacrosse, The Tenacity Project, and every girl she coaches.  We will be touring New England colleges next week to visit Tenacity Alumni and watch college lacrosse, as Beth spends time on her “spring vacation” to watch the best, work hard, and work smart- just like the best of our players!      

We have a lot of incredible people involved in The Tenacity Project, and I will continue to write about them throughout the next few weeks.  I hope that everyone experiences the positivity that comes from being present and also BEING A PRESENCE for young people, because I continue to love my job more every day watching these coaches and girls BE there for each other.  #PlayWithTenacity #CoachWithTenacity  


Theresa Sherry ,CEO & Founder
March 8th, 2017

Tenacity Staff: Being a Presence

The craziness of the spring season is here, and the Tenacity staff is somewhere every day of the week coaching at youth practices, high school practices, watching current players in their games, and watching alumni on their college teams!  I am often overwhelmed by how much there is to do in a day as we try to prepare for the summer practices, camps, tournaments AND try to be a presence in the girls’ lives during the spring seasons!  But the interaction with the girls is the fun part, and while giving our coaches’ jobs context and meaning, I also think it’s the consistent presence- POSITIVE presence- that makes the difference for the players on a daily basis.  I have been very inspired recently watching coaches and Tenacity staff members demonstrate PRESENCE in many ways!

This past week I saw CHELSEA RANDEL in action at a practice for Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, California.  Immediately when you walk on a field where Chelsea is coaching, you feel her contagious energy and positivity, and I was so excited for all of the girls who get to work with her on a daily basis.  Chelsea is knowledgeable about the game, has played at a high level, and has now coached for years (summers in college, and through working for Tenacity since 2014).  She continues to evolve as the game changes, and she is a great teacher for any age group now, but most of all, she’s an amazing PRESENCE on the field.

LAUREN YEE is a new Tenacity Coach and Program Coordinator working with our groups north of the Golden Gate Bridge, and she has quickly become a consistent and positive presence in the girls’ lives at Drake High School, Ross Valley Grizzlies practices, and Novato Nighthawks clinics.  She is another coach who understands that to make a difference in girls’ lives, it’s about showing up every day, working hard, and leading by example.  We say at Tenacity, that we don’t have to score behind the back, we just have pick up the groundballs and win the draws.  To be that impactful presence, it’s simple- be THERE.  

Yesterday we had our first Elite team meetings in the San Francisco Bay Area to set the tone for the 2017 year, and our coaches were joined by all of our Tenacity staff which was a blast!  MEGAN CARMAZZI, who is our Marketing Manager for The Tenacity Project, led some of our bonding games, and her energy was palpable as she got 40 girls at a time playing games to get them outside their comfort zones.  At our staff retreat this past fall, we assigned everyone a word that represented who they are to our organization and our community, and for Megan, that word was PRESENCE.  She embodies this in many ways, including the way that she is in charge of our brand through social media and marketing.  Megan is a person that everyone wants to be around, and her consistent presence for both the girls and our staff is sort of her super power!

We have a lot of incredible people involved in The Tenacity Project, and I will continue to write about them throughout the next few weeks.  I hope that everyone experiences the positivity that comes from being present and also BEING A PRESENCE for young people, because I continue to love my job more every day watching these coaches and girls BE there for each other.  #PlayWithTenacity #CoachWithTenacity

Theresa Sherry, CEO & Founder
March 7th, 2017

Staff Profiles: Beth Rogers Lester, Houston Regional Director

Like so many of our Tenacity staff members, Beth Rogers Lester is a transplant.  She traded the evergreen forests of New England, with its history of witch trials and Revolutionary War battles, for the sprawling city of Houston, Texas, home to NASA Headquarters and a major player in the oil industry.  She brought with her six years of coaching experience in both high school and travel programs, and the phone number of a Houston-area lacrosse coach.  She knew no one—another courageous move from another courageous Tenacity woman!  

The lacrosse world is small no matter where you go and Houston is no different, so eventually Beth crossed paths with Tenacity’s Amy Markwort.  “In her two years with Tenacity, Beth has helped raise the overall lax IQ in the region,” Amy says.  “Bottom line is, she knows lacrosse better than anyone else around here.”  Beth played attack for the University of Massachusetts and graduated in 2005.


What does it mean to be Director of Player Development for Houston?

I get to create all the practice plans for all of our programs and do workout Wednesdays.  We also have Tenacity Training Thursdays where we organize an hour and a half in most locations around the city, getting in lacrosse-oriented workouts like tempos and field sprints—focusing on lacrosse fitness rather than generalized fitness and getting stickwork in.  Furthermore, I’m really working on our coach development, building a curriculum and a base for everyone to use so that eventually our practice plans will be skeletal, so that coaches can pick and chose how they want to do to fill out that practice plan.  And I work with players on recruiting, too.  


What sets Tenacity apart?  What are the challenges for your program?

The market in Houston is so wide open.  There’s just not a lot, aside from high school teams, for kids to be doing.  There was a program here that focused on development at the middle school age, and they’ve kind of laid the groundwork for what we’re doing.  We’re able now to take those kids and bring them to the next level.  They aren’t a travel program, but they’re more intensive than the typical middle school programs.  They practice a little more often and do a couple middle school play days.  Our biggest challenge is getting coaches, having enough coaches to field all the teams that we could field is difficult.

Our evaluation process is really good and really positive.  We accentuate our written and verbal feedback and that helps a lot with development.  That’s something that’s special to Tenacity.


As a high school coach, you deal with a pretty wide range of skill levels.  How do you balance teaching the new players while also challenging the more experienced players, especially in a try-out setting?

This is my third season with my high school program and I kind of threw the new players to the wolves.  I ran them through the exact same tryout and pulled them aside at the beginning and said, “I know this is going to be a lot of information and it might be frustrating at times, but do what you can, try to figure it out, talk to people, try to figure out who would be a good resource and once tryouts are over, we will help you and slow down.”  No one’s ever quit, so I think it’s been successful.  

But, for example, this past high school tryout, I had six kids show up who had never held a stick before.  You end up focusing more on fundamentals, rather than fine tuning and game development.


If you were to coach your high school self, what kind of advice would you give her?  What were your struggles at that age?

I think that when you’re in high school, or when I was in high school, I was always really focused on that fast speed, really pushing the ball—whereas now I think that learning patience and poise as a thirteen, fourteen year old is so important.  Learning to have better vision.  When you sit out for a couple of games, due to injury or a variety of reasons, you get to watch the game and it makes you such a better player.  


What has your experience in Houston taught you about coaching?

That sometimes I need to slow down!  Sometimes I over-talk or I don’t think about the vocabulary I’m using. The lax vernacular, if you will.  When I first came down here, I assumed the speed of play and the lax IQ would be exactly the same, and I had to learn to slow myself down and to be more detail-oriented, which was really fun.  I hadn’t had to do that in couple years.  I have kids who are really strong lacrosse players, really smart lacrosse players, but need more guidance and coaching, so it’s fun to pull back and start at that level again.  It’s been a challenge, but it’s been really fun!


What does tenacity mean to you?  Have you seen it in your girls?

Tenacity, to me, means many things.  Probably more so now that I work for Tenacity.  We talk to the girls about being tenacious verse having tenacity, that it should be an actual part of your life, not just the name of the program.  We want them to be go-getters on the field and we want them to be go-getters in school, as aggressive in the classroom as they are on the field.  And we want them to have resilience and passion.

Last week, my team had a really tough first half—really struggled to get going.  We were down by five or six, but we got it together during half time and pulled out a win in sudden death overtime.  They didn’t realize that they had that in them, but they found it and tapped into it to pull out the win.  That, to me, is tenacity.


Staff Profiles: Carlin Ober, Bay Area Office Coordinator

Carlin Ober can’t shake the lacrosse bug.  She took a two year hiatus in high school, but then like a wayward planet drawn back towards the gravitational pull of the sun, she became involved with the team at Whittier College, stepping into a managerial role that often felt more like that of an assistant coach, and even taking a turn in the cage.  Now, nearly a year after graduating from Whittier with an anthropology degree, she’s Theresa’s right hand woman.  What does that mean?  First of all, she’s got organizational skills the rest of us dream of.  Secondly, she’s finding out first-hand how to grow a company, navigate the transition to non-profit, organize events, and prioritize the ethics that define the Tenacity culture, all without losing sight of the heart of the matter: lacrosse is about having fun.

How did you get involved with Tenacity?

I first got involved with the Tenacity Project through my Bryn Mawr connections with Theresa and Wendy.  My dad is on the board at Bryn Mawr, so he was one of the first people to hear about Wendy’s transition.  My mom mentioned that I was graduating this year (2015) and was looking for employment and Wendy’s first response, without hesitation, was to send my resume her way.  After learning more about Tenacity’s goals, I knew I had to work for the company.  

There’s an intimacy to the Tenacity experience that, I think, sets it apart from other club teams–despite the fact that it’s expanding.  Do you think the connections between staff and coaches – let’s say your Bryn Mawr connection, my Princeton connection, the fact that so many of our staffers have played either as teammates or opponents – helps to foster that?  How else does Tenacity work to maintain the personal approach as it becomes a larger national organization?

I would say that the intimacy between staff and coaches absolutely helps this company strive.  Many of our coaches were hired through connections with staff members or schools, but we also look for a very specific type of coach.  For all age groups, it is important for our coaches to not only empower our girls to reach their highest potential, but also to provide a supportive environment when something doesn’t go as planned.  Not every coach is able to strike a balance and I think that is what pushes Tenacity ahead as a club team.  And that starts with Theresa.  She’s able to maintain a professional and personal relationship with each and every member involved within the Tenacity Project.  Of course, as the company grows this becomes more and more difficult, but we are really trying to maintain that sense of intimacy.

Can you talk a little bit about how your lacrosse experience in college prepared you for the role you’re in now?  How did you make the decision to manage the team at Whittier College? 

I was primarily the manager for the women’s lacrosse team, although I did get a little playtime.  I stopped playing lacrosse my junior year of high school because I was focusing on academics, field hockey, and squash, but after the first semester at Whittier, I realized that I couldn’t give up sports all together.  I asked the coach if she needed help and she said yes.  It was her first year and she didn’t have an assistant, so she was a little stressed out.  After the first game or two, I started going to practices with the team (meaning I had to wake up at 5:30 am).  I helped set up, get the equipment, and run the goalie through warm ups, acting as an assistant coach.  At games, I was in charge of statistics and keeping the team in line.  I am a very organized person, so managing the team was easy and made me realize that I could do something similar for a career.  Of course, I didn’t expect to help organize an entire company, but working for the Tenacity Project has been amazing.  I have learned so much from Theresa and our other full time staff about how to start and run a company.  Theresa is honestly an inspiration and anyone would be lucky to work for her.      

You were coached by Wendy in high school and now you’re working together as colleagues.   Any stories you want to share from back in the day?

By the time I had gotten to the level that Wendy coached at Bryn Mawr I had decided to switch to goalie.  I had played every other position in the sport, so I figured goalie could be a new challenge.  For my first high school tryout I was not only one of the younger players on the field, but I was also learning an entirely new position.  That was the hardest day I’ve ever experienced in sports, but it was also so much fun and that was primarily because of Wendy.  She’s one of those coaches that will never give up on you and will absolutely never let you give up on yourself.  She always knew when you were starting to get frustrated and she would tell you to just take a minute to regain your confidence.  

This next story is actually from freshman year in college.  Our goalie was injured, so I stepped up (at this point I hadn’t played in two years).  I was terrified and out of practice, so I emailed Wendy.  She responded with ten tips.  Most of the suggestions involved staying confident and not letting one goal mess with you, but that last one said to have fun.  It brought me back to that first day at tryouts when I was new to being a goalie and Wendy said that if I got anything out of the day it is to have fun.  I may not have done entirely well that day—actually we lost miserably—but I remembered that the whole point of this sport was to enjoy it and to let every day bring a new adventure.        

What does the word tenacity mean to you?  Do you have any stories that illustrate it?

To me, tenacity means having determination and persistence.  It can be difficult to keep alive, especially if you’ve had a bad day, practice, or game, but that is how you can tell who the strongest players and people are.  I had to learn tenacity from a very young age because I have a learning disability that basically prevents my brain from memorization.  I went to Bryn Mawr, an exceptional school for strong, intelligent girls, and every day I had to fight to stay on track.  Homework or classwork that would take one of my classmates an hour to do, would take me two or three, meaning more often then not I stayed up until 2:00 am doing homework every night.  After a while this became exhausting, but I constantly reminded myself to stay in the game.  Although every day was a challenge, I knew that if I was determined enough and had enough tenacity, I would make it to graduation. 


Staff Profiles: Jenn Kessler, Marketing Director

Jenn Kessler hails from Washington DC, where she grew up playing soccer at a high level.  By eighth grade, she’d had enough.  She needed a new challenge and so she joined her friends on the lacrosse field—lucky for us!  Just five years later, she was playing midfield for Vanderbilt, where she went on to become captain her senior year.  Jenn is optimistic, approachable, passionate and efficient—she knows how to get the job done and get it done well.  When she’s not managing Tenacity’s marketing efforts, she coaches with the youth programs and helps with a high school team in Marin.  I had the chance to talk to Jenn just last week while her one-year-old was napping.  Here’s what she had to say:


How did you get involved with Tenacity?

My freshman year at Vanderbilt, we went to the final four and played against Princeton.  I’d heard of Theresa Sherry—she was from a neighboring city and just a legend in our area—and I’d played against her.  Full circle, I moved out to San Francisco a year and a half ago and one of my best friends from Vanderbilt grew up with Theresa in Baltimore and re-introduced us.  At that point I had been living overseas and was interested in getting back into lacrosse, so this was the perfect fit from a business perspective and it was also something that would involve me in the community here, and this is really one of the first places I can really see my family settling down permanently.


I’ve found that lacrosse is really helpful in getting me involved with the community, and really helping to find a community, when I move to a new place as well.

In my past life, I was living in San Diego and doing a bit of coaching down there.  And you know, because I’m from DC and my whole family is there, it was nice to surround myself with families, getting to know these kids and their families while they’re going through a stressful time.   We were fairly like-minded—I had been through all that years before and could help them with the recruiting process and all sorts of facets of life, which I absolutely loved.  It made me enjoy that community more than I would have otherwise.


How do you feel that Tenacity sets itself apart from similar organizations?

The biggest difference is that Tenacity offers kids the opportunity to learn solid life lessons.  We preach about it in a lot of our practices and throughout all of our programs, but I think when you really get down to it, there aren’t a lot of organizations that focus on the betterment of the kid.  The sole focus is maybe having their skill level increase, making them more competitive and making them more fit but very few that I’m familiar with prioritize making the kid a better person.  That’s probably the biggest thing that drew me to the organization—focusing on these kids in their communities, how they can help out and become better people in addition to becoming better lacrosse players.


I imagine that Tenacity’s approach to multi-sport athletes would resonate with you as well, as someone who burnt out of soccer at a young age.

Totally.  I had coaches growing up who wanted me to focus on one sport and told me that I wasn’t committed if I was playing other sports.  But as a young kid I was involved with multiple sports, I enjoyed playing multiple sports.  It became really difficult for my parents to balance all that, and for me to juggle all that on top of school work and other extracurriculars, but I think from a fitness perspective and for the health of your body, it’s really important for kids to play multiple sports—to gain vision and a sense of the field, to meet people from different walks of life.


If you were to coach yourself as a high schooler, what kind of advice would you give yourself?

Learn how to be extra coachable and put yourself in uncomfortable positions on the field.  I was a midfielder but more attack-oriented, and I never felt 100% comfortable on defense.  I think I could have been a better all-around player if I had let myself be a little more uncomfortable and pushed myself to learn defensive motions and how to be a big point-person on D as well.  Be willing to put yourself in sticky situations and positions you don’t feel you’re the best at.


What really excites you about lacrosse in California?

I think the coolest thing for me is just seeing it grow and become so popular on the west coast.  I moved out to California in 2007 and since then lacrosse has trippled in popularity.  I think what’s really helped is the colleges that have established programs over the last five, six, seven years and paved the way for people who want to play at the next level, but not necessarily go back to the east coast.


What does tenacity mean to you—the word, not the organization?

I would say being a champion in all facets of life, which might be kind of corny.  Representing your family in a positive way and doing all that you can do to shed a positive light on them.  Doing everything you can do off the field, outside of practice time, to make yourself competitive and the best player that you can be.  Taking the extra time, outside of practices and school work, outside of all the mandatory things, to try to get yourself to that next level.  That’s what being a tenacious person is to me—putting in the extra hours and the extra steps to make yourself better.


Written By Courtney Bird
March 10th, 2016

Staff Profiles: Wendy Kridel, National Director


This summer, Wendy Kridel packed up her life and moved across the country to San Francisco.  In 1850, that trip would have taken six months.  Sure, the times have changed and there’s now little fear of cannibalism on the way, but nevertheless it take a lot of conviction to make that kind of move.  Wendy joined Tenacity as National Director after twenty-five years in Baltimore, where she spent nearly two decades coaching the Bryn Mawr Mawrtians, including Tenacity founder Theresa Sherry.  She led three different teams to one state title and six independent school titles, and in 2003 she was named to the US Lacrosse Greater Baltimore Chapter Hall of Fame.  Her experience goes way beyond Baltimore, however: she coached the U-19 National Team to three world championships between 1999 and 2007.  

Even with all of that under her belt, Wendy considers herself a student of the game.  Her drive to acquire more knowledge and to instill the same curiosity in her players is one of her secrets to success.  The others?  You’ll have to get on the field with her to find out!  I had a chance to catch up with Wendy just last week.  Here’s what she had to say:

Does working in the National Director role mean less coaching for you?

I think I’m doing more on field coaching than I was able to do as an athletic director and coach before.  First of all, I’m coaching a high school team this season and I get to coach camps, clinics, and my own Tenacity team.  I’m at practices on the weekends where I get to work with teams that aren’t necessarily in my care, but I’m working with the coaches on those.  So I’m actually doing more coaching, which is what attracted me to this role—the opportunity to work in growing the business in a field that I love, to work with someone I care about very much, Theresa, and to get to do more.

What was the team dynamic on the U19 team?  What was it like to work with players from different backgrounds all coming together for that experience?

They’ve probably been the easiest group of players to bring together because they’re playing for the ultimate goal, a gold medal for their country.  So it’s really easy to get buy-in and there’s very little selfishness when you’re working towards a goal like that.  It’s way easier than it can be when you’re with a team every single day and players feel the immediate pressure of playing time, or they don’t necessarily see themselves fitting into the greater process.  Or maybe their team isn’t as strong.  For the kids at the pinnacle, it’s recognizing “Wait, I’m good enough to be on this team?”  They look around and they think, “Oh man, these kids are amazing.  I’m not as good as they are.”  And that is the biggest challenge with them.

Kind of the impostor syndrome?  I definitely struggled with that at Princeton, just looking around and thinking there was some mistake, that I didn’t belong there.  

And for girls in general, overcoming the confidence thing is nearly impossible, and the social hierarchy for girls is very challenging.  

The lacrosse scene on the west coast is so different than the east coast.  Was that part of the allure of coming out here for you?

You know, I helped run a fall ball this fall in San Jose where we ended up having close to sixty girls, thirty of whom had never played before—high school girls!  And in all of my years coaching, I’ve never worked with a group of kids so inexperienced at that age.  And that was really fun.  All of a sudden you get to watch kids love something that you love for the first time at fifteen years old.  That’s pretty cool.  And that’s something that can’t happen with lacrosse in Baltimore, Maryland.  

Any advice for newer, younger coaches?

Find great mentors and be as open as you can to learning the game in all different ways.  Be a lifelong learner.  Those are things that I personally feel like I have done and they’ve helped me succeed.  I’ve never felt like I know the game.  I’m never afraid to ask questions.  Sometimes I make people crazy because I ask too many questions.  But there’s always more that can be done and there’s always a new way to look at things.  I did a coaches’ workshop a few weeks ago in a youth league and I was explaining shooting space—the rule—to people who didn’t know, and there was a young man sitting there and he said, “Well you could sorta describe it like a flashlight.”  After 30 years of coaching I hadn’t thought of that.

Any other messages for the Tenacity community?

Just that people have been unbelievably gracious and welcoming in my transition.  I’m learning new aspects of the game and that’s really what inspired me to make this move.  To be 50 years old and to pick up your life and your family is a scary thing to do, but I knew I had to push myself a little bit.  You reach a point where you’ll never do it, and if you never do it you’ll never know.  So it was a conscious push, with welcoming arms and I feel really fortunate.  I’m so appreciative of all the great people who’ve been part of this transition so far.  

What does tenacity mean to you?

Tenacity to me means never quitting, doing what it takes to get the job done.  To be truthful, as a person, I don’t often think of myself as tenacious (sometimes I wish I was more!).  I, like others, can have doubts, lack confidence etc.  With that said I think that I have coached only a handful of girls who were legitimately tenacious.  While I don’t know if she will appreciate or want the reference, Theresa is that ultimate example.  Firstly she always played the same, no matter if it was a practice or game.  She knew how to compete, wanted to, and worked harder than anyone to do it.  When her father died, it was one of the hardest times I’ve seen someone go through, but she worked harder and harder to better herself.  Still is the same today!

Okay, last question.  Could you have ever anticipated working with Theresa in this capacity, back when you were coaching her?

I don’t know that I ever thought I would directly work with her, but I always felt that she would take her learning and be a coach because of the relationships with her father, with me and with Chris [Sailer].  I don’t think I thought that my path would connect with hers in that way—it just didn’t occur to me—but it’s such a blessing that it has.  And you know, to me, the greatest accomplishment that I’ve had is the number of young women I’ve worked with who are now involved with coaching.  That’s what I’m most proud of.
By: Courtney Bird
March 3, 2016