Lacrosse, a sanctioned California Interscholastic Federation sport, is coming to Justin-Siena High School.
Justin-Siena announced plans Tuesday to begin a boys and girls lacrosse program with play scheduled to begin in the spring of 2011. Justin-Siena, a North Coast Section school which plays in the Marin County Athletic League, becomes the first Napa Valley school to offer lacrosse. The addition of the two programs will push the number of interscholastic sports offerings for Justin-Siena to 24.
“As a college preparatory school, the collegiate opportunities are very exciting, and we are thrilled to present the first high school lacrosse program in the Napa Valley,” Justin-Siena President and CEO Robert Jordan said in a statement released by the school. “This timely addition to our athletic program came about, in large part, due to our relationship with the Napa Force, a local program with whom we have been developing a great partnership.”
Lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing team sports in the country and is played at the club level locally by Napa Junior Lacrosse, which is known as the Napa Force. The Force plays its games and practices at Justin-Siena’s Dodd Stadium.
“This is so very rewarding to us,” said Andy Kirmse, a co-founder and vice president of the Napa Junior Lacrosse Club, which will be starting its fifth season in 2011. “We’re very, very pleased. Our objective with this was to hand off the high school level to an actual high school.”
Braves lacrosse will participate in the competitive Marin County Athletic League, in line with the entire athletic program. According to US Lacrosse, youth participation in the sport is up more than 528 percent since 1998.
What is also worthy to note is the ever-increasing number of college lacrosse teams playing in Division I, II and III.
There are 45 schools in the North Coast Section that offer lacrosse. Practices for the spring season start on Feb. 7.
First-round playoff games are May 18.
They are followed by quarterfinal-round games, semifinal-round games, and then the NCS Championships, May 27-28.
Jordan offered his gratitude to a group of benefactors who stepped forward and secured a significant portion of the initial funding to sustain the first two years of the program.
“Clearly there is a need for lacrosse at the high school level in the Napa Valley, and I am so grateful for the community support thus far,” Jordan said. “At a time when schools are forced with down-sizing co-curricular programs due to budget restraints, Justin-Siena has been greatly blessed with this opportunity to move forward. I have no doubt this program will thrive.”
Justin-Siena Athletic Director Mike Fisher is thrilled to add this sport to the program and sees this addition as an enhancement that will serve to strengthen the Braves overall.
“As a rapidly growing sport, we feel like the time is right,” said Fisher.
“One of the great things about the sport is its accessibility to many different student-athletes — something that allows even more students to get involved.”
Kirmse is excited by the fact that players can now earn a varsity letter by playing lacrosse for the Braves.
“It will be a huge draw for Justin-Siena,” said Kirmse.
Justin-Siena is a Catholic high school in the Lasallian tradition offering a college preparatory program that serves approximately 600 students from Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties in grades 9–12.