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High school lacrosse given CIF status

March 01, 2006|By Michael Miller

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District voted Tuesday to approve lacrosse as an official sport, with the condition that schools raise enough money to field teams for the upcoming year.

In recent months, the lacrosse clubs at Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar high schools have lobbied the district to approve their sport for California Interscholastic Federation status ? in essence, making it a sport rather than an extracurricular activity. Following the school board's vote, the lacrosse booster clubs at both schools will have to raise 75% of the first-year costs by March 31 to put the sport on the field for spring 2007.

Parents from the booster clubs, who attended Tuesday's meeting, were pleased with the board's decision.

"It's just a game that, once somebody plays it, they love it," said Cindy Hanvahan, president of Newport Harbor's lacrosse club. "What's going to be so great with the CIF [status] is the exposure. Now we're legitimate."

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The board voted, 5-1, in favor of the resolution, with Martha Fluor the only member voting against. She said she favored making lacrosse a CIF sport but worried that Costa Mesa and Estancia high schools, located in less affluent areas, would have difficulty raising enough money if they seek to start a CIF program. To date, neither school has expressed an interest in starting a lacrosse program.

"It only offers opportunities for two schools: those that can afford it," Fluor said. "Whether they choose to or not is not the issue. Those schools will have difficulty raising the money when they have other sports that they're having trouble supporting."

Some of the other board members echoed Fluor's concerns but voted in favor of the resolution. Board member Serene Stokes said she expects the Costa Mesa schools to have lacrosse teams eventually. She said starting the sport at four schools simultaneously might prove difficult.

Under the district's plan, created by assistant superintendent of secondary education Bob Metz, each school would pay 75% of the cost for lacrosse ? approximately $61,000 ? in the first year, then 50% and 25% in the second and third years. Starting with the fourth year, the district would foot the entire bill.

If Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar attain CIF lacrosse teams, they will join 28 other schools in the CIF Southern Section that also offer the sport. The current school year is the first in which lacrosse is sanctioned as a CIF sport for the Southern Section.

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