Laney Thumser feels at home on Clarke men’s lacrosse team
DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Save the long hair and small build, Laney Thumser doesn’t stand out much on the Clarke men’s lacrosse team.
She’s been playing with boys - hockey and later lacrosse - all her life.
“If you were to ask me a year ago today if I could ever see myself playing on a college men’s lacrosse team, I would not have said yes,” Thumser said.
Now a freshman, Thumser starting playing lacrosse in high school.
“I like the physicality of it,” Thumser said. “I didn’t know the rules at first. My coach just told me to go out there and hit people, and I ended up being kind of good at it.”
Clarke’s men’s lacrosse coach Tucker La Belle took notice.
“I walked out there one day and saw a girl with a (defensive) pole on the field,” La Belle said. “It took me about 10 minutes to realize that she could more than hold her own.”
Thumser is also on the women’s team at Clarke, a sport she’d never played before. When she was first recruited to the women’s team she wasn’t sure.
“I thought well I could do that anywhere, and then Tucker had came in and asked if I wanted to plan a men’s team as well,” Thumser said. “He said he could pull some strings, and I said ‘well if I could keep playing the sport I love in college then I would 100 percent do that.’”
There were some hoops to jump through in order get get Thumser on both teams, but for La Belle it was well worth it
“There was zero hesitation for me. We did our due diligence we went through with the NAIA,” La Belle said. “We pretty much posed them the question ‘is this possible and show us a reason why it’s not possible.’ We didn’t come back with any reason saying we couldn’t do it.”
Her coach says Thumser isn’t a practice player, distraction or side show
“(She’s) a high IQ player, and somebody who will add to your roster right away,” La Belle “Regardless of whether she’s a man or woman or anything we wanted her on this team”
Thumser says there’s pressure, playing on a field full of men.”
“Well, I’ve made it here, now I have to prove it that I deserve to be here,” Thumser said. “I definitely had a lot of imposter syndrome. I don’t know how I got here but I’m glad I am.”
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