The growing interest in girls lacrosse at St. Michael-Albertville High School was met with approval of a third team by the St. Michael-Albertville School Board last week.
The board at its regular meeting Tuesday evening approved partially funding a B-squad team, in addition to the current varsity and junior varsity teams.
"We have interest from more girls than we first anticipated," said St. Michael-Albertville School District Superintendent Jim Behle.
The district will contribute $950 for transportation to away games and for game officials. The lacrosse booster club will pay for the rest — such as the cost of a coach and equipment — through fundraising efforts and registration costs.
When girls lacrosse was added as an official high school sport last spring, the school estimated that about 40 girls would be interested in joining, Behle said.
Girls lacrosse Coach Jill Anderson held an interest meeting in November when 63 girls attended to express interest in playing. Last week, Anderson handed out more than 70 packets to interested girls at a fundraising meeting.
"I think the number of girls wanting to participate in lacrosse is great," Anderson said. "I knew that once the girls program was approved as a school sport, that interest would continue to grow."
The girls first started as a club team in 2009, with 26 girls playing. Last year, as an official school sport, 51 girls participated, Anderson said.
A team of 20 girls is ideal, and teams with more than 24 players "gets to be too many," she explained.
"I was concerned about having to cut players — that is not something you want to do as a first-year program, so I was very excited to hear that the school board approved a third team," Anderson said.
The B-squad is contingent upon having enough girls register, but "we have some qualified individuals interested in the position," Anderson noted. "So it is just a matter of waiting to see what the registration numbers end up being."
In addition to the high school program, the St. Michael-Albertville Lacrosse Association offers spring and summer league opportunities for girls in grades four through eight.
"Now that the high school program is up and running, more focus will go into the younger teams in getting them more developed as well," Anderson said.