Urgent- VHSL status at Midlothian HS

Posted: August 12, 2013 in US Lacrosse
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As many of you know we have been aggressively seeking VHSL status for both boys and girls lacrosse at Midlothian HS.  We have met with the Midlothian HS principal, Mr. Abel, the Midlothian HS Athletic Director, Mr. Cooper, Midlothian’s Board of Education representative, Mrs. Carpenter, and presented our case to the Board of Education last month.  We have explained the following to all of these individuals and groups: – That Weaver Lacrosse (both boys and girls) feeds both Midlothian HS and James River HS equally; however, only the players attending James River HS have the opportunity to play lacrosse for their high school.  We have explained that the passion, resources, level of play, sustainability and demand are equal in the Midlothian district as to those at James River HS. – That Hanover County (who just added VHSL lacrosse to all of their high schools) and Henrico County both have high schools participating in VHSL lacrosse. – That Midlothian HS, via their club teams, just won the Virginia Lacrosse Club title for both boys and girls by beating Atlee HS (which is now a new VHSL member).

That both the boys and girls teams from Midlothian are sending many players to the top lacrosse colleges in the country.  In fact, just two years ago Midlothian HS sent 7 players to college lacrosse which far exceeded any other sport at Midlo. – That 72 of our current Weaver Lacrosse players (just boys alone) are headed to Midlothian HS, as compared to 49 headed to James River HS.

That the culture in the Midlothian district is very heavy lacrosse. – That a financial plan is already in place and that a proven track record (of over five years) for Midlothian Lacrosse  clearly demonstrates that lacrosse would be highly successful from an economic point of view at the high school.  Example:  When Midlothian hosted Deep Run at Midlothian HS’ football field this spring the attendance was approximately 700 people and we collected roughly $3,500.  One game alone!  What other sport other than football would come close to that number at Midlothian?  None. – We have been told that transportation would be an issue.  How so? The varsity soccer girls at Midlothian are already driving themselves to and from away games?  Anyway, the lacrosse program would be able to help financially in that area.  We have been told field maintenance and field availability are the problem.  Our financial resources would easily be able to solve both those issues. – We have been told that money is an issue.  Again, how so? Our economic plan shows that our lacrosse team would self fund everything and offer financial aid to any player in need. We have shown that we have continually made a profit and would not require any financial help from the school. – We have been told that the Chesterfield County Athletic Directors have collectively decided to fight lacrosse and that, in addition, they are blocking lacrosse as leverage to gain their full stipends back for their coaches.  Our kids’ futures are now leverage? – We have been told that it has to be offered to every high school in Chesterfield County first.  Well, first off, James River already has it…so there goes that silly argument.  Second, the Thomas Dale lacrosse community is trying to get a VHSL certification…and I hope they do.  My point being is that if a community wants lacrosse they should be able to obtain it. Some schools choose not participate in golf….should every school in Chesterfield County give up golf then?  If a school like Meadowbrook doesn’t want lacrosse then why should that hold up Midlothian getting it? There are a host of other issues that we have had to contend with but this certainly gives you a flavor of the silliness we have had to deal with. The real purpose of my email today is to inform you that Henrico County Athletic Directors have decided that they will no longer play Midlothian, or any other club team, because there are enough VHSL teams in the area now that they don’t have to.  So arguably the two best programs (boys and girls) in the Richmond area over the past five years are out of any local games.  Without VHSL certification at Midlothian HS,  Midlothian will no longer play many, if not all, of the games we have become accustomed to.

These highly successful programs could be ruined, if we do not push to get VHSL certified before these spring schedules are set. Here are my suggestions on what actions we as a community should take:

1) Email and call the following decision makers: – Mr. Abel, Midlothian HS principal – Mr. Cooper, Midlothian HS Athletic Director – Patty Carpenter, Midlothian District, Board of Ed rep – Mr. Wyman, Chairman, Chesterfield County Board of Eduacatuion – All other CCPS Board of Ed member

2) Write the Chesterfield Observer and all other local newspapers with your thoughts on the matter. Hold decision makers accountable for not having it in place.

3) Explain in a respectful way to whomever you are addressing some of the points I addressed earlier as well as the following: – That your son/daughter are passionate about lacrosse and that not providing the sport at the high school is an enormous deal to you. That you and the whole Midlothian lacrosse community are NOT going to go away. That “they” (the principal, board of ed members, athletic director) all work for their constituents….US and that their own personal agendas should be put aside for the desires of the community they serve. – That you do not wish to hear the reason they can’t do it….but rather ways they can do it.  Suggest that maybe the community would be better served with people who could get things done. – That by not being VHSL certified it  will effect your son/daughter’s future both in high school and possibly into college. – That Chesterfield County already has the sport at James River; how unfair is it that they don’t allow it at Midlothian? – Do not accept from any of them that is is being discussed/reviewed/evaluated.  That sort of response is simply to kick the can down the road. We don’t have much time…schedules will be set shortly.

Demand that we get certification NOW!  You may hear that Mr. Cooper is going to study lacrosse and that they may put it in for 2015 season.  Don’t accept that!!!  Eleven other high schools in the Richmond area and 88 in Virginia already have it. What is there to study? It’s a stall tactic.  That is all it is. Remember: The ADs in Chesterfield County don’t want it.  This should NOT be their decision.  James River HS got it because their principal decided he wanted it.  It really is that simple.  You’ll be told it isn’t and fingers will be pointed at other reasons….but we could have VHSL certification by dinner if they wanted it.

Lastly, please be aggressive, passionate and demanding on this issue.  Ask for personal meetings with the above mentioned decision makers.  Obviously, be respectful to all but let them know your son/daughter’s future rides on this.  Remember there have been many, many players from the Midlothian district who were denied the opportunity to play for their high school because there was not enough outrage over it.  HAVE OUTRAGE!!  We need everyone to participate in this. Be VOCAL!!!  Don’t let this generation of players be denied, too, because certain people don’t like lacrosse or don’t want to do their jobs. I appreciate everyone’s time and help.

Rob Sayegh WAA Boys Lacrosse administrator

  1. Cheryl Woodward says:

    Good luck! I hope you all get it. You are too good of a team to be left behind. It took many years to get it in Hanover, but a concerted effort last year lead by many across our community, was able to push it through. Will keep our fingers crossed for you. – Atlee parent

  2. Don West says:

    Get it done Midlothian district. The fastest growing sport in the world is waiting for you. Keep up or you will fall behind and you will always be remembered to have done the right thing or will people and kids applaud when you retire from education. Which would you like to be remembered for ??

  3. Carlos Bustamante says:

    As a lacrosse coach from the Northern Virginia, I believe Midlothian is capable in competition against other schools that are VHSL status! They beated Robinson this past spring season and everyone in the Northern Region knows Robinson is a powerhouse when it comes to lacrosse and has a strong tradition dating back when Tuffs was head coach in the 90’s. Midlothian could even win the D5 state title this coming spring, if they were in VHSL status in my opinion.

  4. Carlos Bustamante says:

    Sorry, in my previous post I meant to say “Northern Region”, not Northern Virginia.