High school lacrosse coming to Wisconsin in spring 2024
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- On Dec. 2, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association announced that lacrosse has been sanctioned as a spring sport for high school athletics. It's been a long wait for high school athletes and coaches that participate in the sport already.
A subcommittee made up of coaches, athletic directors, and high school administrators worked over the course of an 11-month period and sent in the proposed plan for lacrosse in WI high schools to the WIAA. Ryan Mangan, Arrowhead High School athletic director, as well as Jack Fleming, Classic 8 Conference Lacrosse Commissioner, were both on that committee. They know the desire to be an official high school sport has only grown over the years.
"Yeah, that's been going on for a while," said Mangan.
"Absolutely," said Fleming. "It's been a gradual process to reach the point that we're at."
They both think the sports growing popularity contributed to getting to this point. The Wisconsin Lacrosse Federation (WLF) was created in 2001. Since that time, area schools have been able to play at a club level. According to the WLF, there are now 42 boys programs and 35 girls programs currently. Some of those are co-op teams as well. Back in 2012, there were 29 boys programs and 15 girls programs.
"The credibility of a state tournament, the similar trophy that they raise. That ending event that they would want," said Mangan.
Stephanie Hauser is the executive director of the WIAA. She says now that the sport has approval, the association can focus on next steps to present to schools across the state.
"How many teams will come to state? How many days will the state tournament? Those are the types of things we'll look at," said Hauser. "Those are the conversations we'll be having over the next several months."
Based on a 2021-22 survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations, 26 states have boys programs and 27 have girls programs with Missouri being the state that has just girls programs. Now Wisconsin will join them.
"We're just excited to be offering a new opportunity for education-based athletics in our state," said Hauser.
This will be the first time the WIAA has added a new boys and girls sports at the same time since adding boys and girls soccer in 1982-83.