WIAA looking into adding lacrosse as a sanctioned sport

WIAA looking into adding lacrosse as a sanctioned sport

Towards the end of 2021, news was circulated that the WIAA was considering adding lacrosse to its list of sanctioned sports.

This would make lacrosse the first sport added to the WIAA charter since the addition of girls swimming and hockey in the early 2000s, making this possible addition a historic one for De Pere sports.

The Crimson Aviator interviewed players from both the boys and girls lacrosse teams and what they hope a formal Wisconsin Lacrosse Season would look like.

Athletic Director Jeff Byczek seems interested in the fact that a new sport is joining the WIAA: “It would give [the sport] more status within the school, and to have a WIAA tournament it makes you feel more on the same level with the other sports.” 

This positive sentiment seems to be shared by the players as well.

“If [Lacrosse] becomes a school sponsored sport , it’ll just grow the game, get more players and [gain] more recognition,” said junior Ryan Repella.

Senior Paige Bildings, a member of the girls team, strongly supports the WIAA’s possible newest addition.

I think it should be a school sanctioned sport,” she said. “Since we are a club [team], we don’t get any funding from the school, so we have to pay to be on the team. It costs around $300 per player. Also we always get last choice for the turf so our practice times are really late.” 

Ella Peters, another senior on the girls team, elaborated on the reasons for these late practice times: “We don’t have a lot of time on the turf, so it’s kind of hard to find practice time and we end up practicing later at night.”

These times for practice are a stark contrast to school sponsored teams that often have their practice early in the evening or right after school. 

When asked about the major benefits that could come from a WIAA-sponsored lacrosse season, veteran Coach Charlie Jacobs for De Pere Central could think of many:

“Joining the WIAA would have a number of benefits. The most significant would be the support that would come from De Pere and West De Pere High Schools. Although both school districts have been generous with their support of the program, all of the funding for equipment, bus transportation, and refs come from student-athlete fees. As a result, it can be very expensive for families to play.

“For the boys and girls, helmets, sticks, and other equipment just to take the field can be more than $500. The worry is that the school districts will not want to take on that expense and will not sponsor the sport. If that is the case, then we will not be able to continue as a club sport because WIAA teams will not be permitted to play club-only schools.” 

Despite a positive outlook from Coach Jacobs, news of the WIAA’s possible addition has left some wondering if the De Pere Central teams would be split into East De Pere and West De Pere teams, as is true for most WIAA chartered sports, or if the teams will remain together.

Senior Billy Nusbaum said he believes the schools should stay together.

“The sport isn’t big enough to where the schools would be separate,” he responded.  

Bildings thought the same should be true for the girls team.

“We need both schools to have enough players,” she said. “Actually, we have a few girls from Bay Port as well. So I guess my only concern with becoming a school-sponsored sport is if we were De Pere only, I don’t think we would have enough players.” 

The student athletes playing lacrosse at De Pere seem excited for what is to come to their sport. Even if the seniors leaving this year can’t experience the feeling that the younger grades will get to, they still seem to be very supportive.