Comstock Park High School lacrosse players are looking forward to their first season checking, passing and blocking goals as an official team.
After four years of club play and building numbers, boys and girls varsity lacrosse players will face off against high school teams like Hudsonville and Grandville as an official Michigan High School Athletic Association team.
With their first games scheduled in March, boys and girls team members are looking forward to the official status, which means they will be able to earn varsity letters and compete in the O-K conference championships.
Numbers have been strong since the first lacrosse club started at the middle school grade level in 2010. It has grown to include a boys’ freshman, junior varsity and varsity team, and girls’ varsity team.
In both Ottawa and Kent County, lacrosse interest is growing, according to Jim Haskins, commissioner for the O-K Conference. He added that a new team has been formedfor each of the past seven years.
There are 19 boys teams divided into three divisions, and 13 girls teams that divided into two divisions. Popularity has increased at the middle-school level as well, Haskins said.
Lacrosse players junior Mike Egeler and senior Logan Walker said it’s exciting to bring the team to a new level. They described the sport as fast-paced and full-contact.
“It was something new to try, and I liked it,” said Mike, of joining the club his freshman year. “You can check people and all of that.”
While girls’ lacrosse isn’t quite as rough, it’s just as fun,” said sophomore Bre Warner, who helped get the girls club started last year. She formerly played at Northview High School.
“I like how it’s challenging. There are a lot of different aspects to it that other sports don’t have,” she said, noting that teamwork is huge to coordinate running, catching and passing.
Athletic Director Tony Petkus said demand and interest led to the teams becoming official.
High School teacher Jon Wier and his son Gabe, now a junior, helped start the original team when Gabe was in seventh grade. Wier now serves as the varsity team’s defensive coordinator.
It’s definitely grown in popularity, he said. “When you look at where the program started to where it is now, you can’t argue that, with three teams of boys and a full girls’ team,” Wier said.
The Boys Varsity Lacrosse Team’s first game is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20 and the Girls Varsity game is at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 24 at Comstock Park High School, 150 6 Mile Road SE.