Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Athletes Stick With Lacrosse.

Byline: Diana Heil Journal Staff Writer

* The sport's growing popularity is on display in a three-day tournament

When you see a tepee in New Mexico, it usually means one of two things: a tourist trap or a Native American Church meeting.

In the case of Ari Mello, pitching the historic Plains Indian dwelling near the playing fields of Las Campanas is the sign of a man determined to turn New Mexico on to the oldest game in North America: lacrosse.

New Mexico has only three high school teams that play the sport, two in Santa Fe and one in Albuquerque.

Local players, hungry for new competition, were glad to see in Santa Fe players from Canada, Arizona, Missouri, California, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota and Washington.

A mix of 21 nationally ranked and unrated high school boys teams converged in New Mexico for the three-day Warrior Ironman Challenge this weekend. Mello was the mastermind.

At night, players feasted on buffalo meat and watched lacrosse videos at the J. …

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