Jeff LaBonte

Jeff LaBonte photo

Jeff LaBonte photo

Responding to the growing popularity of lacrosse in the area, Auburn Public Schools recently announced the launching of a high school lacrosse program.

AHS will field boys and girls junior varsity teams beginning in the spring of 2016.  According to Auburn School Committee Chairman, George Scobie, “In a very tough budget season, we were able to appropriate the funds to begin a junior varsity lacrosse program. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Auburn Public Schools leadership team for creatively formulating a budget that supports the educational needs of our current students and the athletic needs of our future students.”

Lacrosse is immensely popular in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Southeast areas, home to collegiate powerhouse programs Johns Hopkins, Maryland, North Carolina, and Duke, to name just a few.  The game has also long been popular in the Long Island area of New York.

It has taken a bit longer for lacrosse to take hold in the Northeast. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst regularly fields a nationally ranked lacrosse team. In 2006 UMass brought some regional exposure to the game when they reached the NCAA Division 1 championship game, losing to number one-ranked Virginia 15-7.

Driven in large part by the growth of the Worcester/Auburn Bandits youth lacrosse program, the sport has become an increasingly popular spring sport in Auburn. The Bandits currently field ten boys and girls teams for players in grades 1-8.  While there are several “select” programs in the area, many of these players had nowhere to play after getting to high school.

“The Bandits have definitely created a need for LAX at the high school level” said Scobie. “I believe it’s our job as a School Committee to not only concentrate on our current operations, but to also be mindful of future district needs.”

According to Worcester/Auburn Bandits President, Mike Jarvis, “We are very excited to have a funded High School team for the boys and girls. We believe this provides an excellent path for our youth players looking to further develop and play in High School and beyond.”