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Venice High School adds varsity lacrosse to athletics lineup

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VENICE, Aug. 24, 2017 – One of the country’s fastest growing team sports, varsity lacrosse, has found a home in Powell-Davis Stadium at Venice High School. The school will establish boys’ and girls’ lacrosse teams later this school year; the Venice Indians inaugural lacrosse season will launch in February 2018. The effort will be led by SRQLAX, a nonprofit organization formed to establish lacrosse as a Florida High School Athletic Association varsity sport in Sarasota County public high schools.

SRQLAX helped start the first Sarasota County public high school lacrosse program at Riverview High School in spring 2016 – a program that went on to add junior varsity teams and earn local and national recognition in 2017.

At an end-of-school-year event to assess interest in this emerging sport, more than 160 Venice High School students signed on. Tryouts will be held in January 2018. Students enrolled in Venice High School are eligible to try out for the teams. Students attending Pine View School and Suncoast Polytechnical High School may also be eligible through the Sarasota County Athletic Choice Program. Interested students or parents should contact Sarasota County Schools Athletic Director James Slaton for more information.

The National Federation of State High School Associations reports that Florida saw a 70 percent increase in lacrosse participation from 2009-13, the second largest of any state. As of last season, the state had 187 boys’ teams and 167 girls’ teams.

In accordance with FHSAA policy, the Venice teams will compete as independent teams their first year, entering competition for district titles the following year. The Indians lacrosse teams will still play the teams within their district this spring, with dozens of nearby teams available to round out their schedule.

In the upcoming season, six teams will compete in the Class 1A of District 17, including local high school teams from Riverview, Cardinal Mooney, Out-of-Door Academy and Sarasota Military Academy. In the region from Naples to Tampa, there are an additional 40 teams in the southwest Florida region.

“The interest the Venice community has shown in lacrosse is fantastic,” said boys’ varsity lacrosse coach Jamie Carver. “I’m excited about the opportunity to coach the student athletes at Venice High School. Venice is full of talented young athletes, and our goal is to prepare these students to play at the collegiate level.”

Costs for the Venice program, like the Riverview program, are entirely raised by

SRQLAX and the newly formed Venice Indians Lacrosse Booster Club. The bar has been set at $90,000, but supporters of the program are optimistic.

“The excitement surrounding Lacrosse is so rewarding,” said Becki Moyer, the booster club president. “I look forward to meeting more parents and kids as we move forward with our fundraising efforts. We currently have a Venice High School Lacrosse Carnival, 5K and golf events in the works.”

“This is just the beginning,” said Rachel Hautamaki, president of SRQLAX.  “We are beyond thrilled to bring lacrosse to the second public high school in Sarasota County, and we look forward to seeing FHSAA-sanctioned lacrosse teams throughout the county in the next several years.”

Full schedules and information on teams can be found at SRQLAX.com/VHS-Indians. Additional details about other local lacrosse activities, such as programs teaching basic lacrosse skills for local elementary students, will be added when available.

 

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