High School Lacrosse in West Region in Flux Due to COVID-19 Concerns


“When I met with the players Thursday afternoon, they exhibited and expressed extreme disappointment,” Regis Jesuit (Colo.) coach Jim Soran said.

When the La Jolla (Calif.) High School girls’ lacrosse team traveled to play at La Costa Canyon (Calf.) on Thursday, the upperclassmen were surprised with an impromptu “Senior Night” — just in case.

With schools and high school athletics associations around the country suspending sporting events in light of COVID-19 concerns, the coaches at this particular game in the West Region decided to honor the seniors who might not get another chance to play.

In California, decisions are being made at the district and league levels, but as of late last week, schools were closing at a rapid rate and suspending all activities. Most have plans to resume, but the situation is fluid.

“We are hopeful that the season will continue in a few weeks,” said La Jolla coach Kitty Cullen, whose Vikings are off to a 5-0 start following an 11-7 win Thursday at LCC. “All we can do right now is pray for the best and to be able to finish out our season with our amazing group of seniors. We would like to thank La Costa Canyon for the impromptu senior night and flowers on Thursday in case that was our last game.”

San Diego area schools have closed until April 6 and sporting events and practices are suspended as well. On Friday, San Ramon Unified School District suspended school and athletics until April 10, and all other East Bay Athletic League teams in Northern California have suspended games until further notice, according to Amador Valley girls coach Chelsea Randel.

The Utah High School Activities Association and the Arizona Interscholastic Association both suspended play for two weeks, effective Monday and ending March 30. Utah teams are not permitted to practice, while teams in Arizona are allowed to continue practicing at the schools’ discretion.

Elsewhere in the West, the lacrosse season was just about to begin when decisions to halt play came down late last week.

On Friday, the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) announced that all practices and games for member schools are suspended through March 31. The Colorado High School Activities Association on Thursday announced that, effective Friday, it would suspend all activities, practices and games until April 6 with plans to re-evaluate the situation as that date approaches.

“When I met with the players Thursday afternoon, they exhibited and expressed extreme disappointment,” Regis Jesuit (Colo.) coach Jim Soran said. “My heart was touched by their emotion, and it was difficult for me to maintain my composure. The seniors, I think, sensed that their season could evaporate in this virus haze. We tried to get them focused on what they can do to prepare for that time when they can again hit the field together. We hope and pray that that day will be April 6.”

The CHSAA allowed individual schools to decide whether or not to play games that had been scheduled for Thursday. Some went on and played.

The Regis Jesuit boys’ team was set to begin play Friday and had 15 games on the slate between then and April 4. Soran said it is unclear how the CHSAA might adjust schedules if play resumes, but he would expect there might be a limit, with league games given first priority.

Teams in Washington are looking at an even longer delay.

The Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association has suspended league and non-league play indefinitely, while the Washington Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association has suspended league games through April 24. The WSLA will allow teams to continue practicing and playing any non-league games that have not been canceled by the opponent.

Most school districts in the state have suspended activities anyway, particularly in the three major counties that include Seattle and surrounding areas. Mercer Island High School’s girls team, which is coming off a championship season, won’t be practicing or playing games until that date.

“Because we are an official school sport, my district’s decisions trump that of our lacrosse league (WSLA),” Mercer Island coach Lyndsey Gillis said. “Things are complicated up here, as our league is comprised of many different types of teams — yet we all compete under one roof regardless of size/school affiliation — just over 40 varsity teams in Washington state (private, public school affiliated, district club teams that combine two or three high schools, etc.). It certainly keeps things competitive, which I love, but difficult to level the playing field during such times.”

“We are so saddened by the loss of the majority of our season or potentially all of it,” Gillis added. “Coming off of our first state championship last year, my girls were so hungry for another big season.”

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