Sammy Jo Tracy has always loved to compete.

As a freshman at North Carolina, she delivered the school’s first national championship on a goal in the third overtime period to knock off an undefeated Maryland team. Three years later, she helped the Tar Heels win another national championship.

When her career at Carolina ended in 2017, she held the school record for draw controls in a game (14), season (145) and career (327). But that was just part of her story. She scored 133 goals in her four seasons, gobbled up 90 ground balls and caused 37 turnovers. She could simply do it all.

And she still can. She plays in the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League, but that’s not her only outlet to push herself.

Shortly after graduating, Faceoff Academy co-founders Greg Gurenlian and Jerry Ragonese reached out to her about starting the Draw Control Academy. It’s launched a whirlwind teaching career for Tracy which will include her third straight year presenting at the US Lacrosse Convention this January.

Tracy calls Lax Con one of her favorite teaching opportunities, and it’s a chance work with adult coaches instead of the young players she normally teaches during her training sessions.

“I get so nervous,” Tracy said. “It’s an adrenaline rush. I want to keep coming up with new drills and I’m really preparing. The people that go to Lax Con are trying to learn as much as they can, and they’re really invested. They’re not doing it for the money.”

One of her favorite parts of the event is what happens after she’s done.

“I love the questions I get after the presentation,” Tracy said. “It teaches me so much and helps me grow.”

Her presentation this year will focus on strategy for the draw.

“The draw is the most important part of the game and usually it’s the best player on your team taking the draw,” Tracy said. “My goal is to help you win the draw with the least amount of effort and the most amount of strategy. That’s huge for both you and your player.”

Tracy sat out the season following Carolina’s first national championship due to injury and knows the wear and tear that battling for the ball on the draw can take on a player’s body. That’s why she wants to make it as easy as possible for teams, but she’s not afraid to push her own body.

Tracy’s teaching career in the sport is literally taking her all over the world. She’s been in every corner of the U.S., spent a month in Europe this summer and just got back from the WPLL’s tour to Japan earlier this month. She works with high-level experienced players, but also players much newer the sport where he lessons go beyond the draw to every aspect of the sport. At this time of year, she’ll call Bedford, N.Y., as home base for events Monday through Wednesday and then usually is on a flight by Thursday for a weekend event.

At the age of just 25, she laughs when she says she’s already earned her Delta Gold Medallion status.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Tracy said. “People ask me how long I can keep doing this, but it’s such an important time in the game of lacrosse. I want to make the biggest impact while I can.”

Helping to raise her profile is playing in the WPLL. She just finished her second season with the Pride.

“I had the best summer ever,” Tracy said. “The first year with the Pride we were trying to get know each other. The only other Tar Heel was Kristen Carr. We’ve got a lot of Florida girls and I really clicked with them and some of them have become my best friends. We’re taking advantage of all of the opportunities the WPLL offers us.”

The trip to Japan was one such opportunity — Tracy has gone there two straight years with the WPLL — but the league also provides the chance to keep playing the sport she loves at a high level.

“I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have the WPLL,” Tracy said. “It’s my outlet. It’s really important for women who have competed for their entire to life to get out there and compete with a purpose.”

Tracy's session at the upcoming US Lacrosse Convention will be held on Saturday, Jan. 11.

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