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Lacrosse's future in the SCV

Two more local high schools close to getting CIF teams

Posted: July 14, 2013 9:29 p.m.
Updated: July 14, 2013 9:29 p.m.

Lacrosse players Jacob McDonagh, left, of Valencia High, and Taylor Todd, of Hart High, played together last season on the club leve. This spring, they could face off as rivals as each school hopes to have a CIF-sanctioned lacrosse team this spring. Photo by Dan Watson.

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West Ranch looks like it’s about to have some company on the lacrosse field.

After the Wildcats became the first high school in the Santa Clarita Valley to field a CIF-sanctioned lacrosse program last season, the Valencia Vikings appear set to debut a team of their own in 2014 — and Hart could be right on their heels.

Like West Ranch, the Vikings will play as an independent next spring.

Hart, which appears just behind Valencia in the process but still in good shape, could also field an independent CIF team this season.

According to Valencia High Lacrosse Foundation President Bruce Fox, the Vikings have district and school approval and have been approved by the state of California to begin play this season.

Only two obstacles stand in the way — fundraising and hiring a new coach — neither of which Fox sees as anything more than minor hurdles.

According to Michael Hearne, who is a member of the Hart High lacrosse board, the school is still in the application process to get approval from the William S. Hart Union High School District.

As a district requirement, lacrosse enters as a self-sustaining sport, meaning the program must be able to pay for itself and is required to enter with two years of funding under its belt. According to Fox, that means approximately $23,000 to start.

“I’m confident we’re going to get there,” he said. “We have a supportive base.”

As for a coach, the job has yet to be posted on the Hart District website for either school, but Fox said potential coaches have already reached out to express interest in the Valencia job.

According to Hearne, Hart has already identified some potential coaches, and he doesn’t think finding the right person will be an issue. For Hart, like Valencia, fundraising appears to be the No. 1 issue.

Still, hiring the right coach is “huge, because as a start-up program we want to make sure it stays entrenched,” Fox said. “We’re hoping to start the program with the right coach.”

Fox said the process of bringing CIF lacrosse to Valencia has been fairly smooth because of the legwork West Ranch previously done to bring lacrosse to the Stevenson Ranch campus.

“I started the ball rolling in October once West Ranch announced they were official,” Fox said. “I think it’s the goal of both West Ranch Lacrosse Foundation and Valencia of having a Foothill League of lacrosse made up of at least four schools. West Ranch is there, we’re in for next year and Hart will be ready next year or the next two.”

Hearne agreed that West Ranch helped the cause, but is a little more reserved when it comes to the fundraising goals.

“It’s realistic, but it’s a challenge,” he said. “I think if we get 35 players, if we get that many signed up and committed we’ll reach our funding goal. We’re working hard.

“I think it’s 100 percent we’ll be a CIF team,” he added. “I think it’s a pretty high percentage, maybe 80 percent we’ll have a CIF team (this year). Regardless, if it’s not CIF, we’ll definitely have a club team.”

Another thing Valencia hasn’t struggled with is finding interested kids.

Approximately 80 students, seventh through 11th grade, signed up on the program’s interest list, and Fox hopes to have at least 50 who come out next season.

“We have some real hunger. There’s kids who email me constantly with updates that are really, really encouraging. That’s something you can’t really buy,” Fox said.

Because there will be only one program, CIF rules dictate that the team be open to both boys and girls.

Fox says a girls team is an eventual goal at Valencia and that he had three girls sign the program’s interest list this year.

For Hart, the interest list consisted of 35 names, according to Hearne.

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