UAHS alumna returns to coach the same team she once won championships with.


Coach Laura Sandbloom has returned to Upper Arlington High School to coach the very same team she won multiple state championships with: the UAHS girls varsity lacrosse team. 

By the time she graduated UAHS in 2006, Sandbloom, née Burke, had already been an All-American athlete, won two state championships and had been recruited to The Ohio State University for their women’s varsity lacrosse team, where she lettered for four years and which she captained her senior year.

“[It] was really awesome to win two state championships with friends I made that I wouldn’t have otherwise. That’s what I think is so wonderful about all the different sports and clubs and extracurriculars: it brings kids together who may normally never have been friends,” Sandbloom said.

Once she graduated from The Ohio State University in 2010, Sandbloom moved west to Jackson Hole, Wyo., where she worked for a whitewater rafting company and coached a local lacrosse club. While working for the rafting company, Sandbloom met her husband. After four years in Jackson Hole, Sandbloom and her husband moved to Denver, Colo. Sandbloom became an assistant coach at a private school outside Denver called Colorado Academy, where she also became a teacher after earning her teaching degree. 

When she was an assistant coach, the Colorado Academy girls lacrosse team won five state championships. The COVID-19 pandemic began as Sandbloom took over as head coach, but her team won two state championships the subsequent two years. However, Sandbloom emphasized that the number of championships is not the factor to consider when evaluating the success of a team.

“It’s easy to count them and say, ‘Look at this result,’ but it was a lot of hard work. It was a lot on the girls’ part. It was a lot of collaboration between coaches and parents and kids,” Sandbloom said.

After the birth of their second child, the Sandbloom family contemplated moving closer to their family, either in Seattle, Wash., or Columbus.

“Family brought us back here. I like the Midwest a lot. I think it’s a culture of hard workers. And I don’t think I realized [that] when [I] grew up here… it’s hard to see what your hometown is like until you leave,” Sandbloom said.

She eventually applied to be the head coach of the girls varsity lacrosse team and was approved by the Board of Education for the position in December 2022.

“I feel very connected and passionate about the program because I know what it was able to help me do. It set me up to take more chances in my life than I probably would have,” she said.

Sandbloom said her approach to coaching reflects her focus on team success over individual accomplishments.

“I will continue to espouse the idea of ‘team over self’… I think we have tons of talent, so figuring out where kids fit best on the field, how they work best together, ‘team over self’ kind of embodies that vision for me,” Sandbloom said. “I always talk about ‘one heart, one goal’ and just the joy you feel when you’re in a team and you do something together versus trying to go it alone.”

Sandbloom said she also prioritizes mental health in her coaching style.

“For me, the last few years and COVID has made us all reevaluate what being mentally fit is,” she said. “That’s something I bring to how I approach coaching. If you’re not mentally fit, if you’re not taking care of your mind and your body then it’s hard to be a good teammate.”

She reflected on this opportunity to “enmesh the traditions with new ideas,” which she admits “will probably drive folks a little bit crazy, but that’s okay.”

Not only does this mark a new chapter for the girls varsity lacrosse team, but her new position marks a new chapter for Sanbloom herself. 

“I feel lucky to be back,” Sandbloom said.