An active outdoorsman with interests in ice boating, fishing, skiing, and sailing, Clifford “Cliff” Kigar is currently studying mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Cliff Kigar’s favorite sport is lacrosse.
Despite being one of the oldest sports in North America, Lacrosse hasn’t had much of a presence at the Summer Olympics, having only been a full medal sport in 1904 and 1908. It was a demonstration sport during the Olympic Games in 1928, 1932, and 1948, but hasn’t been part of the Olympic program since. A Canadian team from Winnipeg defeated a local St. Louis team for the gold medal in 1904, while Canada beat its only opponent, Great Britain, to win gold in 1908.
Prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the addition of baseball, skateboarding, karate, softball, surfing, and sport climbing to the list of sports on the program in 2020. Presently, the Federation of International Lacrosse is working toward earning IOC recognition in the hopes of being included as an Olympic sport as early as 2024. One of the major roadblocks for Olympic acceptance is the number of countries with national programs. The 2017 World Cup will have as many as 30 countries participating, but the IOC requires a minimum of 40 active countries.
A student of mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, Clifford “Cliff” Kigar grew up in the township of Lewis Center, Ohio, where he graduated from Olentangy High School in 2015. As a young boy, Cliff Kigar crewed on a C&C 25 sailboat that was owned by his family. Named Blaze, this sloop won the 2005 Fall Regatta of the Alum Creek Sailing Association.
Established 35 years ago to promote the sport of sailing, the Alum Creek Sailing Association currently has more than 200 members and operates a full-service Lewis Center-based sailing facility. Its founders were accomplished sailors who simply loved to race.
This dedication to sailboat racing continues today, as the Association continues to sponsor the Red Cup Series and several regattas on an annual basis. During the summer months, the organization also holds private racing events each Wednesday evening. Its regatta series begins with the Ice Breaker in April and ends with the Old Fox Regatta in October.
A mechanical engineering student and member of the men’s lacrosse team at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Clifford “Cliff” Kigar supports the efforts of Lacrosse the Nations (LtN). LtN volunteers such as Cliff Kigar work to improve education and health for children in communities across the globe.
Founded in 2012, the LtN program in Playa Potrero, Costa Rico, provides physical exercise opportunities for students in the small Costa Rican town. To accomplish its mission, LtN developed more than eight hours of athletic programming every week, including after-school lacrosse practices for students of all ages and mandatory physical education classes during the school day itself. Participants in classes and practices learn skills such as respect and teamwork, which helps them take a leadership role in their own education and health.
In addition to its athletics classes, LtN uses its LtN Scholars and Team Trips programs to provide scholarships to the most promising students in Playa Potrero. To learn more about LtN, visit its website at www.lacrossethenations.org.
Clifford (Cliff) Kigar is an accomplished lacrosse player who is committed to competing at a very high level. College recruiters are targeting top talent like Cliff Kigar, sometimes as early as the player’s ninth-grade year.
In December 2015, the Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA) voted to the NCAA to prohibit the recruitment of players until the beginning of their junior year. This is because of a growing trend with college recruiters courting players at very young ages. Specifically in lacrosse, players attend elite camps when they are in the 7th or 8th grade. It is at these camps that club coaches send talent reports to colleges indicating rising stars. In turn, the colleges are reaching out to these players and offering them college packages.
This practice has caused some players to make commitments to colleges before they even start high school. Many feel that these types of decisions should not be made at such young ages, as it causes player distractions and puts them in difficult positions. Oftentimes, these players change their minds about where they want to go to school or if they want to play collegiate lacrosse. Ultimately, many consider it improper to target talent at such young ages. The IMLCA’s recent proposal to the NCAA has the potential to halt early recruitment and allow freshmen and sophomores focus on their current high school careers instead of a potential college one.
During his time at Olentangy High School in Lewis Center, Ohio, Clifford (Cliff) Kigar established himself as the school’s all-time leading scorer in lacrosse. Cliff Kigar continued his lacrosse career at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and remains involved with the sport through his support of Lacrosse the Nations (LtN).
Lacrosse the Nations (LtN) began in 2009 with a goal of improving the lives of children around the world through the sport of lacrosse. Expanding its services in 2012, LtN established a program in Playa Potrero, Costa Rica, where local students previously lacked access to extracurricular activities of the athletic variety. Thanks to LtN intervention, however, the children of Playa Potrero now enjoy daily physical education classes as well as an after-school lacrosse program open to students of all ages.
In an effort to provide further extracurricular options to children, LtN has partnered with Abriendo Mentes (AM), a Costa Rican nonprofit dedicated to enhancing employment and educational opportunities. After the successful introduction of its program in Playa Potrero, the organization has developed plans to expand to a nearby high school, through which LtN would reach an additional 500 students.
Cliff “Clifford” Kigar is an experienced lacrosse player who uses his skills on the field to support charities like Lacrosse the Nations. Cliff Kigar also supports charities outside of the lacrosse community, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s One Walk campaign.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) works toward raising awareness and funds for diabetes research in a number of ways, including the JDRF One Walk campaign. All donations and contributions to the event help support the JDRF mission of eliminating diabetes in all its forms. Donations can be made to an individual participant or to an entire team. Any person wishing to contribute to One Walk without a specific entrant or group in mind can donate to a nearby event instead.
In lieu of monetary donations, a person can use the JDRF website to search for a local walk and sign up as an entrant. To find the nearest JDRF One Walk event, individuals simply need to enter their zip code into the JDRF search bar. The search engine provides relevant results for several months in the future.
Cliff “Clifford” Kigar has played lacrosse as a member of the Olentangy High School and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute teams. His passion for the sport and for his community has inspired Cliff Kigar to participate in philanthropic activities with Lacrosse the Nations.
Lacrosse the Nations operates as an international community of lacrosse enthusiasts who use their love for the sport to improve educational opportunities and health care for children all over the world. Individuals can get involved with the Lacrosse the Nations (LtN) effort in a number of ways.
As a nonprofit, LtN relies heavily on the support and contributions of volunteers. Volunteer opportunities range from acting as a lacrosse coach for underprivileged youths to assisting in the coordination of LtN fundraisers. For more information on LtN volunteer opportunities and programs, visit http://www.lacrossethenations.org and download the full summary of LtN Team Up opportunities, including the Scoop for Loot and LtN Mini Jam fundraisers.
Individuals who do not have the time to volunteer but still wish to support the LtN cause can make a direct donation to the organization. These donations allow the group to continue using the sport of lacrosse as a teaching tool that imparts important life lessons and contributes to health education. Individuals can make a donation for any amount or make a $160 donation to the one-month nutrition program in Costa Rica. Donations can also be set as recurring monthly gifts.