East Ridge girls lacrosse: Taking flight - Fortney hired as first head coachEast Ridge will launch its own girls lacrosse program next spring and Amy Fortney will help the Raptors take flight.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
East Ridge will launch its own girls lacrosse program next spring and Amy Fortney will help the Raptors take flight.
East Ridge, which held a cooperative team with Woodbury the past two seasons, the East Ridge/Woodbury Griffins, is breaking away from its partner and is forming its own team for 2012.
Fortney said for most coaches “it’s a dream to start your own program.”
“You’re the first person in charge of everything,” Fortney said. “I feel really fortunate to have such a great opportunity at a school that seems so supportive like East Ridge.”
According to East Ridge Activities Director Trent Hanson, Fortney brings “over 12 years of diverse coaching and playing experience to the Raptors.”
Most recently, Fortney coached for the Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, Florida, where she spent four seasons as an assistant coach and interim head coach. During her tenure, St. Andrew’s won two district championships in 2008 and 2009. In 2011, Fortney was promoted to head coach of St. Andrew’s, and coached the Scots to a third place finish in the district.
Fortney said she came to Minnesota in hopes of securing jobs coaching and teaching.
“I want to be a high school teacher and a coach, so I can really dedicate myself to teaching full time,” she said.
A native of Syracuse, NY, Fortney received her bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Kansas in 2002 before obtaining her master’s degree in education in 2005 from Kansas.
After graduating from Kansas, Fortney, 33, began her high school coaching career in 2005 as head coach of the Kansas City Girls Lacrosse Club. Her team finished in the top 10 in the state of Missouri that season and advanced to the state quarterfinals. Following her time in Kansas City, Fortney had an opportunity to coach lacrosse overseas at the Godolphin School in Salisbury, England, where she was the head coach of five girls lacrosse teams.
Fortney played softball and track in high school, but didn’t begin playing lacrosse until she was in college – for the club team at Kansas.
“I’m not one of those people with a real long, storied lacrosse background, I just kind of fell into the sport” Fortney said. “But, I’m from Syracuse, so it was always around and I’ve always enjoyed it. Being competitive with sports ever since I was 6 or 7 years old, I’ve always tried to immerse myself into as many different things as possible. Lacrosse is what stuck.”
Fortney said the thing that is most exciting about lacrosse is that it’s up-and-coming.
“Everybody is finding out what a great sport it is,” she said. “It incorporates so many different aspects of sports. Everybody on the field is playing both offense and defense at all times. Players have to be very well-rounded and the pace of the game – especially when the game is played well – is really beautiful to watch.”
Since her arrival in Minnesota in June, Fortney joined the coaching staff of Minnesota Elite, a premier club team, as their goalie specialist. A meet and greet with Fortney will be held in November, with details to be announced.
Following a 1-12 season in 2010, the Griffins showed great improvement in the 2011 season, under the tutelage of head coach Kara Midura, improving to 5-7 overall and 1-6 in the Suburban East Conference. Midura will remain as head coach of Woodbury.
Fortney said she knows there will be some growing pains that go along with starting a program.
“I’m looking forward to building a program,” she said. “Obviously, winning is the goal and you want to do the best you can, but I also recognize that everything has to start from somewhere. We’re going to lay a good foundation. This will be a program that will be one of the best teams in the state, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. We’re going to make some mistakes, but we will only learn from them.”