Lacrosse - Now a BHS School Sport?
By Julie Perine on November 10, 2012
That decision is quite a break-through, said Coach Jim Mullen, who for the past five years has headed up the combined Bridgeport-Harrison lacrosse team.
“We’re going to be competing for our sixth year this spring, so we’ve been around a while,” he said. “Up until this year, we’ve been unaffiliated with any school. We’ve been the only outstanding team in the West Virginia Scholastic Lacrosse Association (WVSLA) that was not affiliated with their school and the only team that has gone multiple years without gaining some sort of affiliation.”
But that has all changed. In addition to a pure Bridgeport lacrosse team, the Harrison County team will continue on an independent status and not be part of the pilot program. The Harrison County team is not affiliated with any particular school and students from any school, except Bridgeport, can participate.
A feeder youth program, the Bridgeport-Harrison Lacrosse Association, will also continue. Interest in playing lacrosse is growing, Mullen said.
“There has absolutely been a lot of education and interest in the sport,” he said. “I think more than anything, kids are looking for something to do in the spring season. When lacrosse is played, football and soccer are out of season and not everybody is the track and baseball type.”
Registration for both the Bridgeport pilot program and the Harrison County lacrosse team will be held 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11 at the Meadowbrook Mall.
“We really do that just for planning purposes, making sure we have uniforms and things like that,” Mullen said.
Including Bridgeport, there are 15 lacrosse teams on a high school level across the state.
“We’ve very happy and really looking forward to making this pilot program a success,” Mullen said. “Since it’s not a WVSSAC-sanctioned sport, the board, superintendent and principals are trying to step lightly into this and figure out how the sport works under the umbrella of the school systems.”
Harrison County Board of Education Member Mike Queen explained the pilot program process.
BHS principal Mark DeFazio and assistant principal/athletic director Matt DeMotto will contact representatives of the other 14 high school lacrosse teams about scheduling, insurance, travel, etc., Queen said.
“I anticipate that the sport will grow in popularity so that other schools in Harrison County can recruit enough players (at least 15) to form a team,” he said.
“A bunch of kids started bringing lacrosse sticks to practice,” he said. “I had seen it on TV and thought I was a pretty neat sport. I had a few kids from Harrison County on the hockey team and started checking around a little bit to see if anyone in the Bridgeport area might be interested in forming a team.”
That first spring, about 20 boys from the Bridgeport area expressed interest and joined up for the team.
“We bought all the equipment and went from there,” said Mullen, who learned about the sport through books, videos, websites, conferences and training seminars.
The spring 2012 team consisted of about 40 members.
“And I expect those numbers will go up this spring. Every year we get some new kids and the next year, they bring kids with them. It’s been an organic type of growth,” Mullen said.
On a high school level, rules of play are different for boys and girls lacrosse. If interest is sufficient, there may be a Harrison County girls’ team, Mullen said.
Some interesting facts about Lacrosse: It is the oldest team sport in North America and is deeply rooted in Native American culture. It is currently the fastest growing sport in the U.S. Jim Brown of football fame is considered by many to be the greatest player to have ever played Lacrosse. Patriots coach Bill Belichick, believes Lacrosse is an excellent off season sport for football. Five Bridgeport players have received collegiate scholarships in the last five years. And, almost any multi-sport athlete who has ever played the game will tell you...there is just something special about the game that you simply have to experience.
For more information on Sunday’s registration, go to: