Lacrosse players across the country are grabbing their sticks, heading outside and throwing the ball against a wall for minutes and hours on end. They’ve been at it for weeks this summer, racking up upwards of thousands of repetitions a day.

What could bring so many lacrosse players to get their reps in? It’s US Lacrosse’s WallBall Challenge and it’s back for Summer 2017. This year’s contest, which began on June 1 and runs through June 30, features technology from the SNYPR app that tracks the reps as players continue to work on their stick skills, helping fundraise for US Lacrosse’s First Stick Program at the same time. All proceeds from the challenge go toward the First Stick Program, which benefits new and developing youth and high school lacrosse teams nationwide.

The WallBall Challenge has helped players improve their stick skills, and has inspired some, including fundraising leader Ellie Grefenstette, to give back to the lacrosse community.

“I realized these donations could make such a difference, and it was so easy for me, so I emailed several family members,” Grefenstette said. “To encourage them to donate, I explained what the challenge was and made sure to include my thoughts on how important it is for other kids to have the same opportunity to play that I had.  They were very generous and I really appreciate their support.”

Grefenstette, 17, is an incoming senior at Seton LaSalle Catholic High School in Pittsburgh. She’s committed to play lacrosse at Fairfield, but in the meantime, she’s continuing to improve her game.

In addition to playing with the Pittsburgh Premier Lacrosse Club and balancing lacrosse, Grefenstette picked up the Wall Ball Challenge thanks to a suggestion from her mother. She began doing 100 reps with her right hand and then did the same with her left.

She originally set her fundraising goal at $100, but her grandparents pledged to match her fundraising total if she reached 10,000 reps. Grefenstette began reaching out to more friends and family and eventually reached $1,850 in fundraising  —  a number that leads the nation.

Grefenstette has set her new goal at $2,000, and she’s not far off.

“I can't imagine my life without sports, and think every kid should be given the opportunity to learn these skills and have fun playing the game of lacrosse,” she said. “The WallBall Challenge is such a great way to help make this possible.”

Then, there are those who have excelled in getting their reps in day in, day out. Players like Gavin Jones from Richmond, Va. and Brayden Goebel from Plymouth, Mich. are rising up the national leaderboard with every rep.

Jones, a member of Glen Allen High School’s JV team, is no stranger to the competition. In fact, he’s the defending WallBall Challenge reps champion.

For the first few weeks of the challenge, Jones woke up at 5 a.m. to do his few thousand reps before school. He had to keep up with others who had already finished up the school year.

And while he’s concerned with staying at the top of the leaderboard — he sits in first with 30,210 reps as of Wednesday — he’s also happy to help contribute to the First Stick Program.

“It’s awesome that we’re growing the game and I can be a part of that,” he said. “I could maybe help a kid find the sport he loves by getting my friends and family to donate.”

Goebel, who plays for Plymouth High School’s JV team, started playing lacrosse just a year ago when a friend suggested he join. As a long stick middie, he started to enjoy the game right away.

“I like the contact and the flow of the game,” he said. “It’s really fun to play.”

Looking to master the basics of lacrosse, Goebel welcomed the idea of participating in the WallBall Challenge. His friend, Gavin Roach, introduced him to the competition and Goebel was hooked.

Every day, Goebel steps outside to his backyard and begins throwing the ball off of his chimney. It’s unconventional, but he said he hasn’t heard any complaints from his parents — yet.

“I’m trying to work on my left hand,” he said. “I go out there for an hour or so when I have free time. My parents are like whatever. As long as I’m getting better.”

Goebel said he’s hoping the hard work will pay off in a few years, when he plans to play college lacrosse. Maybe the Michigan Wolverines will be in his future.

The top participants in this year's WallBall Challenge will win prizes based on their finish. Here are the final prizes:

Grand Prize

Top Male and Top Female with the most reps

All-Pro Rebounders

Top 20 Males with the most reps

Warrior WARP Next Sticks

Top 20 Females with the most reps

Brine Dynasty Elite III Sticks

Top 2 Male and Top 2 Female Fundraisers

Under Armour Prize Packs

Disclaimer: All #WallBallChallenge participants are only eligible to win one Wall Ball Wednesday Challenge.

Wall Ball Challenge

It’s never too late to start participating in the US Lacrosse WallBall Challenge. Download the SNYPR App, get your sleeve from Lax.com and find a wall.

Learn More

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