Peter Baum is a lacrosse player for Colgate University. He is one of the five finalists this year for the Tewaaraton Award, the award given to the most outstanding college lacrosse player. What makes Baum’s nomination significant is that he is the first Cascadian considered for the award. Baum played at Lincoln High School in Portland; since leaving for Colgate, he has set numerous school and league records.
Other Cascadians have been nominated to the Tewaaraton “watch list.” This list is compiled of nominations by coaches and sportswriters to the award committee, who then narrow the list to five players. The watch list is sizable – in some years it has consisted of as many as 85 players. There is also a women’s award; no Cascadian women have yet been nominated in the award’s history.
Baum’s achievements this year at Colgate are stupendous. He leads all NCAA players in averaging 3.88 goals per game, and also leads all players in averaging 5.65 points (goals + assists) per game.
Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the United States, but it has always been a part of Cascadian heritage. Organized lacrosse leagues in Cascadia date back to the early 1880s; First Nations in the British Columbia interior played a ball and stick game well before then. Teams from Victoria, Vancouver, New Westminster, and Seattle date back to 1905.
The presence of lacrosse south of the 45th parallel in Cascadia diminished after the Seattle team was ejected from the British Columbian Amateur Lacrosse League in the early 20th century. Since then the sport has grown in British Columbia, but only in the past 15 years has lacrosse grown again in Washington and Oregon, helped with professional teams in Portland (since folded) and Everett.
The Tewaaraton award winner is announced May 31st in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.