Leesville Road, a school that won state championships in boys golf and girls soccer a few months ago, has added lacrosse as a varsity spring sport.
Jack Rogers, Leesville Road’s athletic director, has seen the recent impact lacrosse has had on other schools in the area, especially in the Cap Eight 4-A conference. Rogers said he and Principal Scott Lyons made the decision a few weeks ago to offer the sport next year.
“I think it’s exciting for not only our students, but for everybody,” said Rogers, who expects the lacrosse programs to add points to the schools’ Wachovia Cup standings next year. “It’s exciting for us as an athletic department to add a new sport. I think we’ll be competitive.”
This past spring, more than 30 students created a boys lacrosse team. Although the team wasn’t established a club lacrosse program affiliated with Leesville Road, the team did play across the state with the help of the North Carolina Lacrosse Academy.
Jeremy Fullbright, a teacher at Leesville Road, was the coach of the team. There was not a girls lacrosse team with Leesville Road students last year.
According to the Wake County Public Schools website, both lacrosse coaching positions are open.
“We are looking for the best and most qualified candidates,” said Rogers, who said the school will take its time to find the right coach. “We are looking for a coach who can be dynamic to establish and grow this program.”
During the spring semester, Rogers admitted he ran into a few players from the boys lacrosse team. In those talks the players expressed their desire to have the team added on as a varsity sport. Interest also grew from parents who were moving to the area that had children who played lacrosse.
“You want to be competitive with all the other schools in Raleigh and that was also a big factor,” Rogers said. “If another school offers a sport that you don’t, you may lose that kid.”
With the addition of Leesville Road, the Cap Eight will have five schools that at least field boys varsity lacrosse teams. The others are Broughton, Enloe, Millbrook and Wakefield. The Pride will learn in September what conference they will play in though Rogers expects to his boys team to be placed in the NCHSAA lacrosse conference 3 – where the other Cap Eight schools are in.
If the Pride does have a girls lacrosse team, they would also likely play in conference 3.
The Pride could also face other local teams such as Southeast Raleigh and Cardinal Gibbons throughout the season.
“In Wake County the sport has become bigger and bigger,” Rogers said. “We’re excited to give another opportunity for students who don’t play a sport in the spring.”