FAIRFIELD — The recent spike in interest in lacrosse at Lawrence High School has made physical education teacher Josh Blaisdell pretty popular amongst the study body in between classes.

“He’s a very easy person to talk to and I feel like he knows a lot about the game,” McKenna Rogers, a junior on the school’s club girls lacrosse team, said. “He’s like one of the first people I’d go to for advice.”

As the Lawrence girls continue to work toward becoming a varsity program — much like the boys team did this spring — Blaisdell has proven to be a valuable resource for students looking to learn about the game.

In an average year, the 35-year-old graduate of Kennebunk High School, will officiate around 30 collegiate lacrosse games throughout New England, ranging in competition level from Division I to D-III. He also works a similar amount of high school contests in Maine.

While Blaisdell has moved on from playing to officiating, he still shares one thing in common with many of the students to which he offers advice.

“I got bit by the lacrosse bug,” he said.

As Blaisdell explains it, he was sucked into the sport by the tremendous lacrosse pedigree around him in high school. He played for current University of New England coach Charlie Burch, while a number of former teammates have gone on to carve out careers in lacrosse.

Nick Myers, the current head coach at Ohio State University, graduated a year ahead of Blaisdell, while Nick’s brother, Pat, is the offensive coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania and was a year behind him in school.

He also played with Penn State University defensive coordinator Pete Toner and Curry College head coach Tim Murphy, but Blaisdell says it was Nick Myers that helped him stay in the sport after high school.

“Freshman year they needed a goalie at Springfield (College),” Blaisdell said. “Nick Myers (and I) were home for winter break or spring break, (and he) threw a crash course of goaltending at me and it stuck from there.”

After graduating from Springfield in 2002, Blaisdell took a job as an assistant football coach at Maine Maritime before settling in at Lawrence the following year.

Blaisdell had stints coaching ice hockey and football in various capacities over the next few years, but eventually tired of everything off the ice or field that comes with coaching high school sports.

“I was tired of dealing with playing time and are these kids going to be eligible and the drama that goes along with being a coach,” he said. “I still wanted to be involved in the game.”

That is where officiating came into play. He was recruited by former Mt. Blue athletic director Scott Walker — now the AD at Morse — who in turn put him in touch with the president of the Maine Lacrosse Officials Association, Gary Gorman.

“It was just a whirlwind from there with continuous training, just being pushed all the time with it,” Blaisdell said. “I think it was my second year doing high school I had 17 games in a row with Gary, who it’s like being evaluated every single time you’re on the field with postgames of critiquing and just bouncing ideas of situations off each other.

“That friendship between Gary and I has lasted. We’re always talking with each other and still to this day have situational conversations.”

Since he began officiating lacrosse in 2007 Blaisdell has had the opportunity to referee a number of high-profile games, including his first D-I contest when Harvard played Penn in 2012.

“It was actually the first-ever all-Maine D-I (officiating) crew,” Blaisdell said. “I worked with Mark McInnis, who just got selected (last) week to do the (D-II) National Championship game down in Philly. He’s out of Old Orchard Beach, and Jeff Howes, out of Scarborough, they took me under their wings and got me through it.”

That year Blaisdell also officiated the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association National Championship in Greenville, S.C., which features the top non-NCAA teams in the country. Since then he has done games featuring some of the top programs in the country — including Denver, Loyola, Yale and Duke — as well as D-III playoff games.

Blaisdell is not just officiating the game of lacrosse, though, he is helping to grow it too. He has found time in his busy schedule to teach the girls lacrosse program valuable skills as it looks to grow.

“He’s helped us a lot. We’ve been building for the past three years and this year we’re coming together as a team,” Lawrence senior Taylor Watson said. “We didn’t really have any drills to do in practice so in games we didn’t know what we were doing at all.”

“Our defense is a lot stronger because we’re learning skills that we never knew before and our offense is so much better because we’re actually setting up plays rather than just running it up field and shooting it on goal,” added teammate Emma Harrison, a junior. “We set up stuff and we’re more controlled. Our team is 100 times better.”

Blaisdell is also helping to bring more officials to the game. At the end of the July he will head south to the University of North Carolina to help with U.S. Lacrosse’s officiating development program.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley