VHSL Status for Hampton Roads Lacrosse

Posted: July 30, 2014 in HRLax, US Lacrosse
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Rumors are beginning to surface that many of the high school lacrosse teams in the Hampton Roads Lacrosse League (HRLax)  are considering a consolidated effort to become part of the VHSL. The Virginia High School League is the principal sanctioning organization for interscholastic athletic competition among public high schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Currently, there are 88 Girls High School Lacrosse Teams in the VHSL and 89 Boys High School Lacrosse teams in the VHSL.

Currently, the Hampton Roads Lacrosse League (HRLax)  has 17 Boys High School Lacrosse teams and 11 Girls High School Lacrosse teams (not including JV)  with the majority of those in the Hampton Roads area with a relative few in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

HRLax is a non-profit that includes teams of all ages, both girls and boys and essentially exists to provide a youth lacrosse experience within the Hampton Roads area. Participants in the league are required to be members of US Lacrosse and in addition to collecting dues for US Lacrosse membership HRLax collects a participation fee from each participant of approximately $110 to cover expenses for fields, officials, coaches certification, and basic league expenses.  In other areas of Virginia high school teams do not pay a participation fee to a league but collect participation fees that are retained to support the team, not a league. For it’s part HRLax  does a great job supporting lacrosse the youth level but is potentially falling short at the high school level. To be fair, in November 2012, HRLax stated at a policy meeting that the HRLax’s Boys High School Division’s mission is to provide a structured league for the benefit of public high school lacrosse clubs as they work towards school-sponsored school-board approved VHSL status. Essentially, they are providing a structured league enabling most an opportunity to play at a high school club level and without their league the clubs would be left to their own to schedule games. The real impetus for VHSL status has to generate at the club level or it is not likely to happen.

2011 Virginia High School Club Lacrosse Champion Atlee Raiders

2011 Virginia High School Club Lacrosse Champion Atlee Raiders

VHSL member teams have grown significantly over the past couple of years with teams in the Richmond area being some of the newest to join the VHSL. One of the most notable teams to join the ranks of VHSL was Atlee High School in Hanover. Atlee appears to be totally supported by The Atlee Athletic Boosters Club, Inc. is a non-profit 501C-3 Virginia Corporation, and according to information provided on their website has contributed over $500,000 over the last seven years to support athletics, including lacrosse at the high school. Atlee has demonstrated that a very successful partnership can be created with the high school and is a great example for any lacrosse program seeking VHSL status.

Hampton Roads area High School lacrosse is essentially not represented in the VHSL but essentially each team in the league is a separate non-profit corporation (Booster Clubs) that relies upon donations, sponsors, and fund-raising activities to support the needs of their teams.

Many would see a move to the VHSL as a very positive situation and would significantly increase the status of high school lacrosse in the area. A significant change would be that VHSL rules require coaches shall be certified teachers employed by the school board and responsible to the school principal, and they would not have less than three periods of class or study hall per day. Currently, most of the coaches within HRLax are volunteers although some may receive stipends from their booster clubs.

Whatever may or may not develop is largely dependent on the individual lacrosse teams in the Hampton Roads area and it will be interesting to see how this develops. Many believe that the time is right to build partnerships with the individual high schools and take area lacrosse to a level that is prevalent in most if not every major area in Virginia.

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