The Tartan

Oak Hills Girls Lacrosse? Possibly

Posted on: September 19, 2016
Tags: Lacrosse
Girls Lacrosse

By: Sydni Crass 

You would think trying to establish a sports team for your high school would be difficult, right? Not for current freshman Olivia Lang. As a student at Rapid Run Middle School, she played volleyball, basketball, and lacrosse. She was also an NJHS officer, a member of both Art Club and Student Council, while still earning straight-A’s in her Honors classes. Even with her full load of extracurriculars, as a 7th grader, Lang had an idea. Knowing there was not yet a girls lacrosse program at Oak Hills High School, she and current sophomore, Athena Caneris, started a petition for Rapid Run students requesting the creation of a girls lacrosse team at Oak Hills High School. One hundred and twenty signatures later, they approached the Athletic Director. They did not receive much feedback, so Lang and Caneris decided to give up for the 2015 spring season.  

Talking with RRMS 7th grade history teacher, Shane Sowders, was a plus for Lang and Caneris. He suggested the girls take their idea, once again, to the Oak Hills School Board and Athletic Director. In the fall of 2015, Lang and Caneris tried again. Another petition was created, signed by not only Rapid Run students, but students from all three middle schools and Oak Hills High School. While missing a total of three half days of classes to visit the high school, Lang and Caneris collected roughly 850 signatures, 60 girls of whom were actually interested in playing for Oak Hills.

That school year the Athletic Director changed, so not only did Lang not hear much about a lacrosse team, but neither did the 60 girls interested in playing. It wasn’t until early September of 2015 that the girls emailed the current Athletic Director, Tony Hemmelgarn, about the situation. A couple of years had gone by, and Lang was not about to give up on her idea that originated in 7th grade. “My hope is that people come out and learn the game and they experience something that is fun to them. We don’t have to be a winning team, but if people really enjoy the opportunity we give them, it’ll be worth every second of this journey,” she stated. Almost two weeks later, Hemmelgarn responded with, “Let me know when you and Athena can come in to talk. I would love to meet with you to discuss.”

Since the fall of 2014, Lang and Caneris have discussed starting a club numerous times because “it’s easier to start as a club team and it’s a lot less expensive. Our vision was that the girls will need to provide their own stick, headgear, mouth guard, and shoes. We wouldn’t need goals and we wouldn’t need a field because we could possibly use Rapid Run’s. Lacrosse balls would cost $100 max for a total of around 36 balls.” Once both she and Caneris find possible sponsors to support the cost of the girls’ jerseys, the expenses of starting a team would be close to covered. “In all, it would not be an expensive addition to Oak Hills,” Lang added.

Although coaches are not set at the moment, Lang and Caneris plan on speaking with the Oak Hills boys’ lacrosse coaches for anyone they know that might be interested in coaching along with Ms. Carrie Christman and a possible Seton senior. “About 20 girls are needed to make a team. Eleven and a goalie makes 12 on the field. I hope for both a Junior Varsity and Varsity team because of the number of girls interested,” exclaims Lang.  

Not only will establishing a girls lacrosse program help Lang accomplish her goal, but it will also give the female players an opportunity already offered to the boys and “interest girls who aren’t as involved.” After recently emailing the Athletic Director, both Lang and Caneris have determined a date to speak with him in person about the establishment of a girls’ lacrosse team. Subsequent information on the team will be included in a later printed or online edition of the Tartan.