The new Pinellas Lacrosse Alliance

Lacrosse has finally become an official school sport.

Lacrosse has finally become an official school sport.

Connor Wells, Staff Writer

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For years, East Lake has had several “unofficial” teams, with the two most dominant being lacrosse and hockey. Being on the Lacrosse team as a freshman, I didn’t understand this. How could a team entirely composed of East Lake students that shared a mascot and name with the school still not be a part of it? The East Lake Lacrosse team lived as a club team for most years, playing for the Florida Gulf Coast League recently. In fact, East Lake won the championship in 2016, earning a spot as the #1 team in Florida for that year.

The main issue has been administrative reluctance to sanction coupled with rules and regulations required for adding a sport. One of the most important issues in sanctioning the team had been the lack of a girls’ team, stemming from the Pinellas County requirement for a high school teams to have equal opportunities. In the 2017 year, parents and students involved with lacrosse worked together to create the first year of a girls’ league, fulfilling the requirement. As of the 2018 school year, lacrosse has been sanctioned and is now a full-fledged part of East Lake High School. The school has even gone far enough to hire a head lacrosse coach, with rumors circulating that it is one of last year’s club coaches. “I’m excited to work with the seniors who I have played with for four years, and a consistent coach would help us be successful,” says long time player Nick Cimillo.  East Lake’s season officially begins in January.

East Lake has joined with teams in Clearwater, Palm Harbor and St. Pete to create the Pinellas Lacrosse Alliance, an organization dedicated to fully sanctioning the sport in local schools. While a lot of money still needs to be raised to achieve this goal, fundraising has been constant. One specific event is a 3 player versus 3 lacrosse tournament at Countryside Fields on October 20th. With the admission fee, players can sign up with friends to win for their team and earn bragging rights.

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