The Jeff Latta Goalie Award

The Jeff Latta Lacrosse Goalie of the Year Award  is voted on by the middle school lacrosse coaches of New Hanover County Schools (NHCS)  every spring at the conclusion of the NHCS middle school lacrosse schedule.

This award has been awarded to outstanding New Hanover County Middle School lacrosse goalies since 2016 and is presented in memory of Jeff Latta, who started lacrosse in New Hanover County. 

Jeff first started lacrosse in Wilmington, coaching at Williston Middle School in 1991. 

Jeff was a rock-wall goalie from Maryland’s Annapolis High School who worked at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.  A sudden heart disorder at age 32, which resulted in a global brain injury, left him a quadriplegic for the last 16 years of his life. 

He left us in March of 2016 at the age of 48.

30 years ago at Williston, lacrosse was introduced as a program of support for “latch-key” youth and was a club team – not a New Hanover County Schools (NHCS) sport.  Grants from the State and Federal governments as well as USA Lacrosse, eventually made it possible to bring both the girls and boys sport to all middle schools in the NHCS.  These 16 (8 boys and 8 girls) clubs were the “Lacrosse and Academics Teams,” providing life skills, academic support and lacrosse.

Fifteen years later, the New Hanover County Board of Education made lacrosse an official New Hanover County Schools middle school sport.  

Today, New Hanover County remains the only public school district in North Carolina to offer both boys and girls lacrosse in middle school.  

The New Hanover County Schools middle school lacrosse coaches vote to select the Latta Lacrosse Goalie of the Year awardees.  Here are their choices, by year, for the girls and boys Latta Lacrosse Goalie of the Year Award:

2016:  Lauren Condon and Logan Trafton

2017:  Rachel King and Daniel Ando

2018:  Molly Maguire and Tommy Burgee

2019:  Ava Kunzer and Tommy Burgee

2020:  Lacrosse season and award cancelled due to Covid19.  

2021:  Rylan Harris and Taylor McGirt

2022: Reagan Jones and Ashton Teter

2023: Reagan Jones and Donovan Kunza

The Latta Lacrosse Goalie of the Year Awards are sponsored by Jeff’s parents, Margie and Kim as well as Coastal Rays Girls Lacrosse, Cape Fear Shamrocks Lacrosse, and Lacrosse Specialties.