A New IHSA Sport


Dylan Heimert

IHSA announced that Boys and Girls Lacrosse will be an official high school sport starting in 2018.

The 2017-2018 season for boys and girls lacrosse will be the first year where it will be considered an Illinois High School Association (IHSA) recognized sport.

“The addition of lacrosse builds on the IHSA mission of offering a wide range of participation opportunities for high school students in Illinois,” said  IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson in a statement on the organization’s website.

In the past, both girls and boys lacrosse teams have been considered club sports. For eight years, athletic directors tried to get lacrosse to be IHSA-recognized by creating multiple committees, according to the Daily Herald. The Daily Herald also found that lacrosse from 2005 to 2014 grew 69 percent in the suburbs of Chicago, which was also another factor in making lacrosse a verified sport.

This change affects the Illinois High School Lacrosse Association (IHSLA). The IHSLA is where all club lacrosse teams belonged to. The Northwest Herald reported that the IHSLA will most likely dissolve since so few schools will keep lacrosse as a club sport due to the recent change.

“The biggest change would be that players no longer pay a $240 activity fee,” John Fischl, one of the LHS athletic directors, said. “Now they only pay the $60 that every other sport has to.”

Many lacrosse players at LHS have been upset in the past when it wasn’t considered an official sport. Sophomore Kelsey Mazzei, a member of the girls JV lacrosse team, was angry because girls lacrosse “didn’t get what other sports got. Since…[they] were considered a club, [freshmen] practiced at Butterfield and had no bus.”

Another common complaint from lacrosse player before lacrosse was IHSA recognized, was that other non-athletic activities, like debate and scholastic bowl, were seen as sports by the IHSA, but not lacrosse.

Matt Wagner, a goalie for the varsity boys lacrosse team, was asked how he felt about lacrosse as a club sport. He stated that there are other sports that don’t care as much as lacrosse so it made him angry.

Meghan Higginson, a sophomore player, believes that “it feels as if we will get more credit because we are finally recognized as a sport.”

An upside of the new recognition could mean that the overall cost of playing the sport will be reduced from before since they would get more funds from the school, Wagner said. Both Wagner and Mazzei also believe that more people will try out for lacrosse now that it is a sport and will be taken more seriously.

Although there was State in the past for lacrosse, sponsored by the IHSLA, this year will mark the first IHSA-sponsored tournament. State in 2018 for boys and girls will be held at Hinsdale Central High School; the boy’s tournament will be from May 31-June 2, and the girls will be from June 1-2.

The IHSA now recognizes 14 boys sport and 15 girls sports for the 2017-2018 school year.