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Archive for February 7, 2021

Feb. 7, 2021 — A lacrosse pioneer for Florida passes away

Over the last decade and a half, the single best story in girls’ and women’s lacrosse has to be the growth and expansion of the sport in Florida.

By degrees, scholastic and club teams have been putting together fine seasons in the prep ranks. Teams like Vero Beach, Delray American Heritage, and Lake Highland Prep. Just this past season, a Florida athlete became the first scholastic player of either gender to score 500 goals and assist on 500 others during her varsity lacrosse career.

College teams have also been getting better. The University of Florida, in just its third year in operation, almost made the NCAA Division I final but for an overtime stick check that nullified the potential game-winner. At the Division II level, Rollins College made the Final Four in 2012 and 2013, but Florida Southern would win the D-2 title in 2016, the first of three consecutive times the team would make the national championship game.

One byproduct of improved play in Florida was improved umpiring. One of the major pillars of the officiating infrastructure of the Sunshine State, Trina Mangano, died last Friday.

She served as an umpire at the U19 Women’s World Cup, with the NCAA, and also was on bodies for U.S. Lacrosse and the Collegiate Women’s Lacrosse Officials’ Association. She earned her way into the officials pool for the 2017 FIL Women’s World Cup, but could not fulfill her duties because she was diagnosed with cancer.

Her public fight against ovarian and colon cancer included chemotherapy in Utah and in Maryland. She blogged at CaringBridge, and was profiled in U.S. Lacrosse Magazine.

“I’m the healthiest sick person I know,” Mangano said.

She tested her health often in one of her favorite activities, paddle-boarding. She would post about it on social media as a defiant fist shake against cancer. In December 2020, that defiance found words.

“Life is quiet and COVID is keeping me from doing more than my usual anyway,” she wrote. “I am hoping for a few more adventures in the new year before these snarky tumors catch up with me. I am sure everyone is hoping for more adventures in 2021, so here’s to a vaccine, your health, adventures and all the fun you can wish for!”

And there isn’t a more fitting epitaph for a lacrosse life well-lived.