When most sports fans think of the game of lacrosse, affluent prep school boys in Maryland or New York might come to mind. Or some might think of the expansion of the sport in California, Colorado and Utah. But to CSU lacrosse goalie Pete Jokisch, it’s at home in Kansas.
Lacrosse isn’t listed on the Kansas High School Sports Association Web site, and the game is mostly a club sport in Kansas. According to the senior marketing major, Kansas had only a few teams when he first started in the fourth grade, but it has grown a lot.
“When I first started there were only about one or two teams, mostly private schools and Jesuit schools like I went to. But now there are about 12 teams; it has grown a lot,” Jokisch said.
He got his start in the fourth grade when his older brother, Craig, brought home a lacrosse stick, a really foreign object in the state at the time. Jokisch began as an attackman his freshman year at Rockhurst Jesuit, but didn’t last long.
“We didn’t have a dominant goalie when I was there,” Jokisch said. “But I told the coach I wanted to give it a try.”
Fortunately for Jokisch, that move paid off for him and CSU.
In 2002, the CSU men’s lacrosse team traveled to St. Louis to compete in the United States Lacrosse Intercollegiate Associates (USLIA) Championship. Jokisch was at the tournament when he saw his future team play for the first time. The Rams ultimately lost the tournament, but it didn’t matter; Jokisch was set on CSU.
“I got a few offers from Division II and Division III schools but nothing serious,” Jokisch said. “But I knew about the history of the program. I came here for the atmosphere and for the lacrosse.”
Since taking over as starting goalie his sophomore year in 2003, Jokisch’s record is 48-5 and he helped lead the Rams to the 2004 USLIA National Championship. Now he holds the CSU all-time saves record, passing Alex Smith, with 461 saves.
And the future looks bright for Jokisch.
Jokisch hopes to put his experience to good use by working for lacrosse companies such as STX, Warrior Lacrosse and Brine. Or he could go to work for his current boss, head coach Flip Naumburg, who owns Rock-It Pocket, a lacrosse company based here in Fort Collins.
He also hopes to grab a spot on the expansion Denver Outlaws of Major League Lacrosse (MLL), a professional outdoor lacrosse league. The MLL is different than the National Lacrosse League (NLL) because the NLL is the indoor version of the sport. Although he has already had some experience with the indoor game, he feels he doesn’t have enough to try out for the Mammoth.
When he does try out for the Outlaws, Jokisch will probably go through his normal pre-game routine.
Before each game, Jokisch takes a nice relaxing shower and brushes his teeth like he is getting ready for a date. Next he eats a power bar or drinks a smoothie; nothing too filling. He then puts on his favorite gray T-shirt and his lucky green wristband on his right arm.
Following that comes the eye black. He paints straight dark lines under his eyes and across his nose against Arizona State and a “Braveheart” pattern for the California trip.
He is definitely not in Kansas anymore.
Check out Jokisch and the rest of the lacrosse team as they take on Oakland (Mich.) Saturday and Utah on Sunday. Both games will be played at 1 p.m. on the intramural field.