Lacrosse gets varsity status at Alder

JA is first school in county with varsity LAX

By Chris Miles -

They’ve worn the jersey for a number of years, they’ll now be able to earn the varsity letter.

The Jonathan Alder Board of Education approved the adding of lacrosse as a varsity sport at the high school during its meeting Monday evening.

“We want these kids involved,” Alder director of athletics Tom Vargo said. “I think those lacrosse families wanted to become a varsity sport for a while now.

“Once the OHSAA adopted it as a sanctioned sport, it only made sense to make it a varsity sport here.”

The Pioneers have competed under the Jonathan Alder name as a club sport for years, but the team wasn’t necessarily a part of the Jonathan Alder High School athletic department, that all changes with the addition of it becoming a varsity sport this spring.

“For those in the stands I really don’t know how different this will be,” Vargo said. “From the inside out, this will be a big change now that it will be recognized as a varsity sport.”

Some of the simple things that didn’t necessarily come into play when the sport was a club will now have to meet the OHSAA guidelines.

“Everything comes into play now,” Vargo said. “Residency in the district, physicals, grades, attendance and coaching certification.”

Vargo said his office had very little to do with the lacrosse program in its club status. He’s not sure how things were run before, but he said lacrosse will receive equal treatment with the school’s other sports.

The process of finding a head coach will begin in the coming weeks, with the position being posted within the district first. It will then go to the public if the position isn’t filled.

“We will go through the same process we would go through for any other head coach position,” Vargo said.

The district has allotted $250 per coach for the purpose of coach training. The lacrosse program will remain self-funded, which means it will be responsible for its own uniforms and equipment. The sport will be open to both boys and girls per OHSAA rules.

Specifics are still being worked out, but lacrosse will have increased access to the facilities in the district, particularly at the high school. In years past the lacrosse team has practiced at the junior high school and played most of its home games there.

Despite the added work coming for his office, Vargo is excited to bring lacrosse into the fold.

“It’s going to be a good opportunity,” he said. “We’re looking forward to having it as a varsity sport.”

The OHSAA adopted lacrosse as a fully sanctioned sport back in June. This spring will be the first season where the OHSAA will conduct a lacrosse state championship. Previously the tournament was run by separate boys and girls state lacrosse organizations.

JA is first school in county with varsity LAX

By Chris Miles

Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.

Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.