Vote "Yes" For Varsity Lacrosse

By Sue Kocsis


The Boys' Lacrosse Club at H-K High School is in the midst of its second season with a combined current record of 7 wins and 3 losses (across two squads). With lacrosse being one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, the Boys' Lacrosse Club has experienced tremendous growth and support over the last two years. 

The club was first formed in November 2010 when it was approved by Regional School District 17 Board of Education (BOE) as a club team for 2011 season. The BOE reconfirmed the club team status for the 2012 season in the summer of 2011.

School sports in Connecticut are governed by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference or CIAC. Under CIAC rules, a school board can elect to have a sport designated as a varsity team or a club team.

As a club team, it offered the opportunity to teach the skills and strategies of lacrosse to these young men, many of whom never saw a men’s lacrosse game, much less picked up a stick, without the pressure of having to win in order to qualify for the CIAC state tournament.

The BOE approval required that the club team be operated on a pay-to-play basis. The player’s registration fee covers the Club’s operating budget which includes items such as compensation for coaching staff, transportation, first aid supplies, team equipment and fees paid to game officials. In the first season, players were also required to purchase their own equipment. 

It's a significant financial commitment on the part of the HK families involved, but the program has expanded from 25 players in 2011 to nearly 40 players in 2012. The team is coached by Mark Richard and Bill Silas, who have been a major driving force behind this program since it started. 

The Club has also benefitted immensely from the support and guidance provided by RSD#17 Superintendents Thiery and Mala, the entire High School administration staff, as well as a whole host of other supporters throughout the Haddam and Killingworth communities. 

Understanding the current economic times, the Club recognized that in order to thrive, it could not rely solely on funding through the school budget. From the beginning, the Club organizers undertook an aggressive strategy of applying for any available grant and soliciting donations. 
In doing so, the Club achieved great success. 

The Club was a one of five teams in the nation to be awarded an equipment grant from U.S. Lacrosse. This grant provided the Club with helmets, safety gear and sticks for 24 players and a goalie. Through this grant, the Club was able to provide equipment to every player who did not have his own equipment this season. 

The Club received grants from the Youth and Family Services of Haddam-Killingworth in 2011 and 2012, which allowed the Club to waive the registration fee and provide equipment to a student who otherwise would not have had the resources to play lacrosse. 

A significant private donation allowed the Club to purchase team uniforms that will be used for years to come. The Club also received many smaller private donations from the local community to help purchase much-needed team equipment. 

As the lacrosse program at HK matures, the next step is for the Club team is to be elevated to a Varsity sport by the BOE. In order to do this, funding within the RSD#17 BOE budget is needed.

During its short existence the Club has positioned itself to become a Varsity sport without being a large financial burden on the RSD#17 budget. The equipment and uniforms now owned by the Club will become the property of HKHS once the Boys Lacrosse Club has varsity status.  Experienced coaches known by the students are in place to run the team. 

The Haddam and Killingworth communities have much to gain by elevating boys’ lacrosse to varsity sport status.

It will provide the opportunity for H-K youth currently playing as part of the Haddam-Killingworth Youth Lacrosse Association (HKYLA) to continue playing lacrosse at the next level. This season, there are approximately 180 elementary and middle-school students participating in the HKYLA program. 

It is exciting for these young players and their families to have the opportunity to play varsity level lacrosse right here at HK and compete with other local high schools and possibly even move on to a state tournament. 

All sports and club opportunities offered through our schools provide an avenue for young members of our community to make constructive use of their time. Had it not been for the lacrosse, the majority of the students on the Boy’s Lacrosse Club might not be involved in a spring after-school activity. 

The camaraderie, team-building skills and discipline these students develop by being a part of the team will serve them and their communities well as they go through life. 

The Club is most appreciative to the Superintendent Thiery and the BOE for including the funding needed for boys lacrosse to become a varsity sport in its 2012/2013 budget. We encourage the voters of Haddam and Killingworth to pass the BOE budget on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. 

The team will play at home on May 16, which is Senior Night. Come take in a game and see for yourself what all the BUZZ is about!

CWallach May 06, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Sue, When it comes time for Durham and Middlefield to start a lacrosse program, I'm sending the organizers your way! Well done. Good luck! Carolyn W.


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