Just ReLAX

    The creation of a girls lacrosse team in District 117 may have to wait a few more years before it is established.

    The increase of student athletes’ interest in lacrosse has grown tremendously over the past few years, and one of the effects is the Community High School District 117 boys lacrosse team that was created last year. The program consists of players from Antioch and Lakes and there are JV and varsity level teams. As a result of the boys team, rumors about the establishment of a girls D117 lacrosse team this spring; although it was highly anticipated, there will not be a girls lacrosse team this spring started going around.

    “Usually if there is going to be a team it takes a year or two in the process to start, and there was nothing that happened last year,” Athletic Director Steve Schoenfelder said.

    The main reason that a team is not being created this fall is because it takes time to get a new sports program up and running through the high school and IHSA; the process can be anywhere from two to six years long and it depends on the amount of interest in joining the sports team. Sophomores Natalie Svarc and Paige Bolton were both interested in the creation of a D117 girls lacrosse program.

    “I think challenging myself with a new sport like lacrosse would be really fun,” Svarc said.

    While it is uncommon, if a female athlete wanted to join a male sports team that the school does not offer to girls, IHSA does allow girls to play on the boys team.  Although many view that as an opportunity to play, the transition from a boys lacrosse team to a girls team would be challenging for the athlete, due to the fact that they are very different. Girls lacrosse is focused on passing and moving instead of carrying the ball over a distance. Girls lacrosse also only allows stick-checking as opposed to boys lacrosse which allows stick and body-checking, boys lacrosse also wears full pads.

    “I think I would be more comfortable playing on a girls team,” Bolton said. “I’m small and would probably get hurt playing on the boys team.”

    While there is not a high school team this year, there are alternative options for girls interested in lacrosse outside of school, including club teams for high school athletes. Depending on the athlete’s schedule, she can sign up for indoor lacrosse, spring lacrosse and summer academy. She can also sign up for various clinics to test out the sport.

    “I’m probably going to do a club lacrosse team, because boys and girls lacrosse are two totally different sports,” Svarc said. “I also think it would be fun to meet new people and play with experienced players.”

    A result of lacrosse gaining popularity so quickly is that it can be challenging to find programs; there is a feeder lacrosse team in Antioch called the Seagles. This program is open to athletes from third to eighth grade and has co-ed teams as well. Although athletes on this team play by the rules of boys lacrosse, girls are allowed to play. Because of the sudden interest in lacrosse, the Seagles program is hoping to expand to having a club level high school team for athletes interested in playing lacrosse all seasons.

    “Overall I just wish they made a girls team, I understand it’s hard to do, but I think a lot of people would appreciate it,” Svarc said.

    With the overall excitement and interest of many female athletes, the creation of a girls lacrosse team is expected. Because of the sudden growth of athletes eager to play, lacrosse players will have to be patient and wait for the expansion of the D117 lacrosse program. For now, athletes that are interested in lacrosse should try to get involved with clinics and clubs outside of school.