Lacrosse now a sports offering at Lake Zurich High
Lacrosse will be a team sport at Lake Zurich High School in advance of sanctioning by a statewide athletic association in spring 2018.
High school boys and girls lacrosse teams will be part of a host of other sports offerings at Lake Zurich Unit District 95 when the 2016-17 academic season begins this month. Similar to other high schools, Lake Zurich lacrosse has been a club sport mostly operated by outside organizers with some assistance from the athletic department.
"It's excellent to give more opportunities to more kids," said District 95 board member Eileen Maloney, who was part of a 6-0 vote in favor of lacrosse last week.
Athletes likely will pay less to play lacrosse as part of District 95's operations than as an outside club, according to Superintendent Kaine Osburn. As part of becoming a Lake Zurich High School-operated sport, lacrosse participants will need to meet academic eligibility requirements.
Lake Zurich lacrosse will begin North Suburban Conference play as boys and girls teams in spring 2017. Osburn said the conference play will provide a dry run of sorts before competing in official Illinois High School Association tournaments in spring 2018.
"Lacrosse has a strong tradition here in the community," Osburn said. "It's done very well. There's a great partnership already in place with the club program, so in a lot of ways the transition won't be difficult."
Lake Zurich will join six other North Suburban Conference schools in lacrosse competition. In spring 2018, high school lacrosse teams will compete for IHSA-sanctioned state championships.
Startup costs for boys and girls lacrosse at Lake Zurich High are projected at $88,000, including coaches' salaries, uniforms, equipment, transportation and other necessities. Revenue through fees and other sources is pegged at $25,000.
District 95 will be responsible for hiring all lacrosse coaches. The athletic office also will take control of game scheduling, hiring of officials, transportation, practices and facilities.
At least 60 boys have been involved in Lake Zurich club lacrosse annually for the past five years, Osburn said. About 40 girls have been on lacrosse teams each of the past two years, he said.
With the addition of boys and girls lacrosse, the IHSA will recognize a total of 31 sports. The last sport added was competitive dance, which debuted in 2013.
IHSA officials said they wanted to be sure enough teenagers would participate before granting the sport official recognition. In 2009, the IHSA board set benchmarks requiring the establishment of 65 boys teams and 40 girls teams statewide before lacrosse would be approved.
Lake Zurich joins Bartlett and other high school in officially recognizing lacrosse at the local level this year ahead of sanctioned IHSA play.