Girls lacrosse club seeks varsity status

MILFORD – Athletes and their parents told the School Board last week that Milford High School’s lacrosse club should graduate into a varsity sport.

As a club sport, the team gets little or no funding from the School District and can’t qualify for tournament play.

Parents at the April 17 board meeting said the girls are dedicated to the sport and were disappointed when they learned recently the club won’t be upgraded.

“They believed if they stayed together for three years, they would become a team,” Theresa Wood said.

Other parents and students told the board they’re willing to raise money and apply for grants.

Girls are losing out on chances to get scholarships, they said, and others are leaving town to go to schools where lacrosse is offered.

While there is a general decline in youth sports participation, lacrosse participation is soaring, said Holleigh Tlapa, who was at the meeting with two daughters. She called lacrosse the fastest-growing sport in the country, with hundred of schools recently adding girls programs.

The Milford club recently lost its coach. Keith Waters, another parent, said McKinley Curro, a fitness director at Hampshire Hills Athletic Club who played for the U.S. national team, is willing to help the team find a new one.

“We’re losing an amazing amount of athletic talent,” Waters said.

School Board Chairman Ron Carvell said the board will make a decision at its next meeting, Monday, May 1, and will also look at the district’s compliance with Title IX, the federal mandate for equal opportunity for male and female school athletes.

Rick Wood, the school Budget Committee chairman and the parent of a lacrosse player, said there should be some way to raise the money to support two teams.

The cost is estimated at $9,000.

“I am a budget hawk,” he said, and the board is in a tough position financial postion, “but we need to figure out a way to do this. When you have 30 students who continue to come out, it begs further evaluation.”

Legal compliance is more than numbers of teams, he said, it’s also the percentage of female to male athletes.

Carla Boudreau said she has three lacrosse players in her family, the sport is growing bigger and bigger, and someday there will be a banner in the high school gym saying, “Girls State Lacrosse Champions.”

Five of the club players were at the meeting, including sophomore Megan Wood, who talked about their dedication.

“We push ourselves to be better people,” she said.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or