Lacrosse approved by IHSA to become an official sport

Lacrosse approved by IHSA to become an official sport

Natalie White, Sports Editor

After the spring of the 2017-2018 the Purple Gym will have opportunity to see a two new banners hung. On Tuesday, April 19 the IHSA board of directors approved girls’ and boys’ lacrosse to become an official IHSA sport.

Junior Kyle Laughlin has played lacrosse since freshman year and is a midfielder on varsity this year. He is excited about the change and believes it is for the better. However, Laughlin is nervous about the new regulations that come with being an IHSA sport.

“Since lacrosse is now IHSA approved, it will make my experience as a player better by making it a more popular sport with more participation by both fans and players, and more people will recognize it as an actual sport and hopefully try out for the teams in years ahead,” Laughlin said. “A negative [of lacrosse being approved] is that many coaches that don’t work for the schools and have other day jobs will not be able to coach anymore because the schools will want their coaches to be part of their staff.”

Junior Madison Villanova, one of the girls’ varsity top scorers, is excited and hopes that this new change will inspire new people to join.

I think the change is awesome. Although I wish it happened while I was playing, I’m glad all the incoming girls will get to experience it. It’s a great program and deserves to be its own school sport. Now that it is, many girls are excited to come out and play. Right now it is $375 to play lacrosse on the DG team and when it becomes a school sport in 2018, the price will drop drastically and it will allow more people to be able to join,” Vilanova said.

In addition to new girls joining, Villanova hopes that lacrosse will now have a bigger say in what goes on in terms of scheduling at DGN. This year, lacrosse often had the 8-10 pm slot for practicing.

“I hope by becoming a school sport that we will earn a little more say in things because when it comes to practice times and field space we are always the ones on the bottom. So I hope that changes,” Villanova said.

Sophomore Hollis Kerr looks forward to the team not only growing in numbers, but also in strength.

“I think the IHSA approval can help to challenge our team as we compete against more experienced teams,” Kerr said.

Additionally, boys’ varsity lacrosse coach Jon Gargiulo, suspects that there could be a split between the currently co-op downers grove team.

“It is my expectation that within the next few years that there will be pressure to split the teams up to separate boys’ and girls’ programs.  There will be too many players coming into the high school for the district to facilitate just one boys’ and one girls’ program, splitting the programs is inevitable,” Gargiulo said.

This new approval will also cause a difference in the financial cost of the lacrosse programs. However, the change will not affect DGN directly, but may influence the teams that exist for DGN to play.

“Currently the lacrosse program is self funded and while the girls’ lacrosse coaches receive a small stipend, the boys’ lacrosse program is completely volunteer.  Once the sport is officially IHSA in 2018, the school district may need to take on the financial responsibilities of the sport,” Gargiulo said. “While the Downers Grove School District and Athletics’ Departments fully support lacrosse and its growth, we do not foresee any major obstacles. Other less affluent areas of the state may be forced to cut their lacrosse programs due to budgetary constraints.”

Overall, most players and coaches are excited about this change and believe that others will be more motivated to join now that it is IHSA approved. The negatives of becoming an IHSA sport do not outweigh the positives at DGN.