Pushing again for a possible change to the placement of Lacrosse

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Junior Varsity girl’s lacrosse team embraces each other with their sticks held high

Megan Monoson, staff writer

After over a century and a half of traditionally being considered a “club sport” and many pushes to make that change, Jim Vaselopulos, president of the Lake Zurich Lacrosse Club (LZLC) for over a year, is one of the individuals that is pushing again for the program at the high school to be considered a varsity sport.

The high school’s athletic program, along with LZLC claims that if they could push other schools to want to join and commit to going to the specified tournaments then they would be willing to join Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and become a sport.

“We think the time has come, first off, because of the number of students that play the sport at the high school levels. We believe that it is certainly right for consideration, but there are always many pressures, beyond what are apparent to everyone else” Vaselopulos said.

He estimates that about 65 percent of athletes in lacrosse at the high school are boys and the rest are girls; however, this does not mean that the girls’ teams do not have a say in this change.

“In the past we weren’t a huge organization, especially because [lacrosse] was really focused on in the Northeast and not in the Midwest. Recently it has just been growing so much in Lake Zurich. Last year I had the opportunity to coach second, third, and fourth graders ― and there were so many of them ― that would never have happened two or three years ago,” Sydney Wade Frank, sophomore and current lacrosse player for the high school, said

Although Frank would enjoy it, she does not want lacrosse to become a sport only for the reason of P.E exemptions.

“I just think it would make people want to play lacrosse because it’s seen as a sport and seeing it as a club almost ruins or like degrades the work of Lake Zurich Lacrosse. Lacrosse doesn’t deserve to be a club sport, and [making the change] would make people feel just like they were joining football or something,” Frank said. “It follows all of the eligibility rules with academics, just like any other sport, and colleges recognize it as a sport.”

Believing that “the school districts will do the right thing at the right time,” Vaselopulos has the same ideas and also believes that the program is now strong enough to be taken to the next level and finally become a varsity sport after all.

According to IHSA both Boys and Girls Lacrosse are “emerging sports.” IHSA’s Board of Directors decided in August of 2013 that lacrosse may only become a sport if “at least 65 boys teams AND at least 40 girls teams have officially entered the respective tournaments” throughout the state, as stated on ihsa.org.

“It remains to be seen [how it affects the student athletes]. We’ve got [an already] functional program and I’m hopeful that some folks who might be deciding, ‘oh I don’t know if I’m going to play or not’ might decide, ‘well, I’ll give lacrosse a try’ because now it’s a part of the school. Hopefully that will increase our numbers even more, which we be fantastic,” Vaselopulos said. “I think just being a part of the school formally would be a nice recognition and I thinking it would be hard not to say, ‘let’s get a banner up there that says lacrosse.’”