Oswego and Oswego East look to start lacrosse co-op program for boys
Oswego and Oswego East high schools will likely form a boys lacrosse cooperative that will allow them to participate in lacrosse games and tournaments in the state in line with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA).
Oswego High School Athletic Director Darren Howard said the sport is planned to be rolled out as an official offering during the 2017-18 school year, when the sport also becomes an official IHSA series sport.
Howard said the schools have been weighing in on lacrosse as an athletic offering as it continues to grow in popularity across the nation. In Illinois, the sport is far more popular among males, or at least has more support for boys' teams. There are 30 more boys' teams than girls' teams in the state currently. Girls' teams make up approximately 60 teams, boys about 90 teams.
Howard said the demand for a team for girls is not really there.
"We have had good interest on the boys' side; really none on the girls' side," he said. "We have been looking at lacrosse for about three years. The decision has been to adopt it when IHSA accepts the sport as a state series, which is now set for 2017-18."
There may be obstacles or elements of uncertainty to contend with, however.
"The only change currently is the uncertainty of state funding for schools, so the '17-18 decision will be somewhat tied to the funding schools get for '17-18," Howard said.
Howard said the influence of the sport has grown locally, and Oswego and Oswego East are following suit to create a sustainable program. The offerings to students will grow as the sport grows. Cooperative efforts have shown success in other sports at the two schools.
Neighboring schools such as Naperville and others already have lacrosse teams and have even produced some good division results for their schools, Howard said.
"There are a number of lacrosse clubs in our general area, and we are confident our boys' numbers would be good to begin a program," Howard said. "We co-op sports in gymnastics, swimming and girls' golf currently and feel that the start of the program will be a co-op until both numbers and budget have reached the level that we can sustain programs at both high schools."
Local park programs, such as the partnership between Oswegoland Park District and New Wave Lacrosse, have also contributed to the growth and popularity of the sport locally.
"Lacrosse is an exciting and growing sport, and both high schools will welcome the opportunity to have it if the circumstances do work out for '17-18," Howard said.