As Lacrosse Grows, So Does Possibility of Splitting United Teams


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Since there are no feeder programs for the high school lacrosse teams, team bonding and getting to know each other is an important part of the season’s activities.

Emily Kessler, Staff Reporter

As the warm weather rolls back in, the lacrosse season does too for Scott County students. The lacrosse program for Scott County Schools is a joint effort between GCHS and SCHS.  Students from both schools play on male/female teams known as United. However, with the growing interest in the sport, there are questions about what is drawing people to the sport, and whether the Scott County United teams can finally separate into individual high school teams.

One way students are hearing about the sport is because it is one that is familiar to their  families as it increases in popularity. Great Crossing freshman Lilly Cooper said “I heard about lacrosse through my brother-in-law who played in high school. He coached his [school’s] team for two years.”  

Another factor behind the team’s size is that player’s friends are also spreading the word about the sport. Senior Jessica Sjoelund, an exchange student from Sweden, represents Scott County on the United team. She said, “I heard about lacrosse from a friend at school who also plays for United. I thought it would be fun to try a new sport and get to know new people. I’m an exchange student, so sports are almost the easiest way to make friends.” 

The two schools were combined into one team in the first place, because of the number of athletes and the lack of availability of experienced coaches.

— DT Wells, district athletic director

History of Lacrosse in Scott County

Lacrosse arrived in Scott County schools in the 2010-2011 school year as the first school team in central Kentucky.  In Kentucky, lacrosse is not an officially sanctioned sport through KHSAA (Kentucky High School Association of Athletes). Since its arrival at SCHS, lacrosse has been supported by the district by paying a salary to coaches and providing equal access to fields and facilities as other sports. 

However, Scott County Schools treats lacrosse as a sanctioned sport in hopes that one day it will become one. Scott County’s district athletic director DT Wells said, We are one of the few counties in the state that our board of education actually funds a head coach and an assistant coach for boys and girls. At this time most coaches are volunteers or are paid by the lacrosse club/athletes.

The district’s United lacrosse teams have existed since Great Crossing High School opened in 2019. Wells said, “The two schools were combined into one team in the first place, because of the number of athletes and the lack of availability of experienced coaches.”  

However, with the sport’s growth, there’s more talk in the schools and potentially a split from one team into two. “Lacrosse is definitely a growing sport. Many people have started playing recently, and my Instagram is filled with lacrosse posts,” said Cooper.

Conditions Needed For Lacrosse to Grow

With a lack of coaches applying for the positions, two teams, one for boys and one for girls, was the only option for Scott County. Wells said, “…We [have] had ZERO applicants for the posted positions of coaches. This has a lot to do with the newness of the sport in the state and in the county. My hope is that once our former lacrosse athletes graduate and begin their adult lives, they will come back to us as coaches so we can grow the sport!“ The two current coaches for the girls United team were both former lacrosse players in college who returned to coach high school students. 

In Scott County, there are no club lacrosse teams that students can join before they reach the high school level. With the lack of feeder programs, it is hard for students to learn the sport before jumping right into the team. For some, this is a turn off. The only club teams (or even recreation leagues) to learn the game are in Lexington, and it is hard for students to get to practice everyday when it’s thirty plus minutes away. 

Mixed Emotions on Splitting

None of the girls on the current United team seemed too excited about splitting up though. Sjoelund said, “Right now, I think we should stay as one. It would be wrong to split. We’ve all got to know each other and know how to play together.”  

However, some of the male lacrosse players seem open to the idea. Sophomore Logan Littrell, a player on the boys lacrosse team, said, “If there are enough people to split the teams, I think it would be good to split into Great Crossing and Scott County.” 

Sophomore Benjamin Loo shared Littrell’s position.  Loo said, “I think it would be fun to play Scott County. It’d be nice to have our own teams for each school.”

As interest in the sport continues to expand, it is more likely that more teams will be developed. This can happen if more feeder programs for students are created. In order to run these programs and teams, more trained coaches are going to be needed. With more seniors graduating every year from high school, who played on the team, there are better chances they will return to coach.