2017 IHSWLA EXECUTIVE BOARD
President, Sarah McKenna
Vice President, Sarah Gutierrez, Stevenson
Treasurer, Catherine Catanzaro, Warren Township
US Lacrosse All-American Chair
Katie Fegan, St. Ignatius
US Lacrosse Academic All-American Chair
US Lacrosse National Tournament Sub-Region Chair
Umpiring Board Chair
Awards and All-State Chair
Jessica Hogan, Naperville North
Pete Collins, New Trier
State Tournament Chair
Sarah Gutierrez, Stevenson
NEXT IHSWLA MEETING
Seeding Meeting, May 11
Please read about the IHSWLA history and growth, how to start a high school program, club teams in the Chicagoland area, and how to become an official or coach.
ABOUT THE IHSWLA
The Illinois High School Women`s Lacrosse Association was established to organize and promote the growth of girls high school lacrosse in Illinois. Schools that join the IHSWLA must follow the Illinois High School Association guidelines for athletic participation. In the fall of 2002 the IHSA approved a proposal for boys and girls lacrosse to be recognized as sanctioned sports when enough schools are participating. Both the boys and girls anticipate being a sanctioned IHSA sport within the next few years as more schools start programs. Lacrosse is recognized as an "emerging sport" by the IHSA. In 2007, a presentation was made to the IHSA board of directors about the growth in Illinois.
In October 2010, the IHSA board approved a state series for boy's and girl's lacrosse for the 2011 season when there were enough boys and girls teams that entered the state series. In 2016, the IHSA voted to have a lacrosse state series in 2018 for the first official IHSA boys and girls lacrosse state championships.
DEVELOPMENT OF COACHES AND OFFICIALS
The IHSWLA is also involved in recruiting and organizing the development of coaches and officials for girl`s lacrosse. The IHSWLA provides opportunities for officials to be trained and certified through the Illinois Umpiring Board that recruits, certifies and schedules officials for games. If you are interested in officiating, please contact Helder Weil, 773-490-3665.
HISTORY OF IHSWLA AND GROWTH OF LACROSSE IN ILLINOIS
For many years, girls lacrosse was only being played at the club or intramural level at a few high schools in the Chicagoland area. After several years of schools scheduling their own games, a group of people took the initiative to unify the existing schools and create a more organized league that would foster growth and development of girls lacrosse. As a result of these efforts, the IHSWLA was formed in 1998 with seven schools, under the direction of the first president, Linda Weinstein. Soon lacrosse programs all around the Chicagoland area were emerging, including high schools in the city, west and southwest suburbs. Past presidents have included Lauren Rippy and Pete Collins. Rippy coached at Lane Tech, Loyola Academy and Neuqua Valley, before taking the head coaching position at Aurora University. Collins was the president for 10 years, while also serving on the US Lacrosse High School Board as the Midwest Chair and coaching at New Trier.
The IHSWLA follows the guidelines of US Lacrosse, which is the national governing body of men`s and women`s lacrosse in the United States. The Chicago-IL Chapter of US Lacrosse has supported girls lacrosse by sponsoring various clinics. In the past, the chapter hosted an annual Illinois High School Lacrosse Convention for three years and sponsored an annual Awards Dinner to recognize players, coaches and individuals who have impacted the development of lacrosse in the Chicagoland area. Currently, the Illinois US Lacrosse Chapter has sponsored US Lacrosse Level 1 and Level 2 coaching clinics for men and women's coaches. Head coach memberships in US Lacrosse provide money for the chapter, as well as the number of All-Americans for the chapter and an IL-WI National Tournament team.
The level of lacrosse in Illinois has risen tremendously, with more players being recognized nationally by Under Armour, Brine and other national teams. Players have also played in the US Lacrosse Champions Cup, and the number of players being recruited by Division 1 programs has grown also. The number of players moving on to play at the collegiate level has increased significantly also.
STARTING A TEAM
Any school that is interested in starting a team must follow the following guidelines.
1. The school must take responsibility for the lacrosse team to play other schools (does not mean fully supported by athletic department, but must take liability for lacrosse program).
2. The school and coaches must understand and follow the IHSA rules and bylaws, particularly for practice during season, off-season conditioning, summer contact, recruiting and athlete eligibility (www.ihsa.org).
3. The school's official representative must complete and submit the IHSA Emerging Sport Resolution and the IHSA Emerging Sport Registration form, both of which may be found in the "Forms" section at www.ihsa.org, to the IHSA. Submission by facsimile is the best way to submit these forms timely.
4. The school must verify that all of its coaches, in accordance with IHSA By-Law 2.070, are either a certified ISBE teacher or a certified coach through ASEP, NFHS or any other IHSA Board approved coaches certification program (see IHSA Policy Number 9 for a complete list of approved programs). Coach certifications may be verified through the National Coaches Registry at www.asep.com.
5. The school must follow the season beginning and ending dates, practice limitations and contest limitations for Girls Lacrosse as set forth in IHSA By-law 5.240.
6. The school must apply to be a member of the IHSWLA and annually pay state tournament fee.
7. The school must play for at least 1 year as a Junior Varsity team before playing varsity.
The league will help all new schools become part of a conference and schedule games at an appropriate competitive level.
If you are interested in starting a program at your school, getting involved in coaching or officiating, or just want more information about girl`s lacrosse or the IHSWLA, please contact Sarah McKenna, the IHSWLA president. Each new team needs to follow the Illinois High School Association rules for athletics. Come catch a game and experience one of the most exciting and fastest growing sports in the country.