The girls can play.
The St. Michael-Albertville School Board last month moved ahead with a recommendation from staff and members of the St. Michael-Albertville Lacrosse Club to add girls’ lacrosse as a sanctioned high school sport.
The move opens the girls’ program to a new level of opportunity. As a sanctioned sport, the squad will be a part of the Minnesota State High School League, allowing the girls to compete at the section and state level. Girls will also be able to letter in the sport, as well.
The cost to the school district will be determined when the board sets the 2012-2013 budget, but it should be comparable to most girls’ sports. Since it’s played in the spring, the program will compete with softball and track for members. Transportation costs will be covered and a pratice area will be provided.
The girls already practice at Fieldstone, near the high school.
Coordinator Craig Cusick got the ball rolling with youth lacrosse clubs over the last two summers, and it has become a force to be reckoned with. From fourth grade through the varsity level, there are teams for all ages competing with other lacrosse clubs around the Twin Cities metro.
But a crisis, of sorts, is emerging at the high school level for local clubs. Other districts, from Buffalo to Eden Prairie and beyond, are moving to sanction their teams. That leaves club level squads like STMA without teams to play.
“We’re concerned that, if we’re told to stay at this level, the team will just eventually die because their won’t be anyone to put on the schedule,” junior Anna Churchill said. Churchill has played for the girls’ squad her first two years of high school, and will again this spring.
Club teams typically arrange, through a coach or coordinator, everything from schedules and transportation to uniforms and field reservations. Sanctioned teams can use the school's activities department, and simply pay activity fees.
As recently as two years ago, Monticello was king of the girls’ lacrosse club level. Now, the Magic are moving to get sanctioned, joining those programs that were leaving the Knights behind.
Numbers aren’t the issue. STMA currently has more than 45 girls set to play this spring, and can easily field two teams – JV and varsity.
More are coming up through the ranks.
“Our class–the Class of 2012–is one of the last that will have 300-plus students. After us, it goes up to 400. At kindergarten and first grade, we have 500 or more. The opportunities need to grow, too,” Churchill said.
The boys’ team will continue to play at the club level, as most schools have formatted now. The boys have ample opportunity to play other clubs that aren’t at a sanctioned level.