The TCU men’s lacrosse team takes on Texas Tech Saturday night as part of the sixth annual Patriot Cup at SMU’s Ford Stadium in Dallas.
The event, which hosts both collegiate and high school lacrosse teams, benefits the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing physical and mental healing to wounded war veterans.
Last year, the event donated over $10,000 to the WWP.
“We just feel like it’s a great mix of charity, a great cause, and a great sport,” said Tim Perkins, a member of the Patriot Cup Host Committee.
The cup hosts both Division I and MCLA college lacrosse teams. The event is not a tournament; TCU’s game will be played as part of its regular season schedule.
“It’s a challenge getting all these people down here,” Perkins said. “But it helps grow the sport of lacrosse here in the metroplex.”
Each year, the event brings in a different “wounded warrior.” This year’s guest is Jeff Sinchak, who served as a Hospital Corpsman and a Navy Diver. Sinchak suffered various injuries related to his service, including a gunshot wound, an arterial gas embolism and decompression sickness.
“He’s going to speak to virtually every one of the teams,” Perkins said. “The spirits of these men that have joined us are incredible.”
The Frogs (5-2) are participating in the cup for the first time. New TCU head coach Cosey Carlisle has been going “pretty much every year” and wanted his players to experience it first-hand.
“It’s an honor to be invited to play for it,” Carlisle said. “It’s everything we love for our games: a great crowd, great facilities, and a great cause.”
Carlisle said he likes that the event hosts high school exhibition games; it’s another aid for him in the recruiting process.
“All the kids in the area come out,” Carlisle said. “Many of them have the dream to play NCAA Division I lacrosse. It’s really good for them to see that all the major universities have lacrosse programs and [to see] the minimal differences between Division I and club lacrosse.”
Participating in the cup is another way Carlisle said he could unite a lacrosse team that seemed to have lost its passion when he arrived in the fall.
“The water was a little bit murky when I got here,” Carlisle said. “I spent the fall and first part of spring trying to make them fall in love with the sport again.”
Junior Traug Keller, the team’s vice president, said Carlisle’s efforts have noticeably paid off.
“The team has only gotten better since [Coach Carlisle] got here,” Keller said. “He’s rallied a core group of players that have brought this team closer than it has ever been on and off the field.”
Carlisle said the team, which will only graduate only four seniors this year, will compete for a conference championship this year. If that doesn’t happen, he said the future is still bright for his team.
“Even if we don’t make it all the way this season, in a year or two we’re going to be a really hard team to stop,” Carlisle said. “We weeded out all the bad energy this team had in the past. All the guys are super positive about it.”
The Frogs take on the Red Raiders at 7 p.m. at Ford Stadium.