New varsity team

JSC President Barbara Murphy recently announced the formation of a thirteenth varsity sport: Women’s Lacrosse, to be added to the roster beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year.

“Since I arrived to Johnson in the role of the Director of Athletics and Recreation in July 2011, we have been developing a strategic plan for the department to focus on enhancing the student experience,” said Director of Athletics and Recreation, Jamey Ventura. “One of the ongoing goals has been to evaluate our program offerings to ensure they meet the needs of current and prospective students, while making sure they align with our institutional mission. When we were considering the addition of varsity programs, I collected feedback from our admissions counselors when they got back from college fairs to see what prospective students were asking for that we did not offer. Women’s lacrosse, field hockey, and baseball were the top three sports asked about.”

Ventura and his department discovered that over the past 13 years the popularity for women’s lacrosse has grown exponentially in high schools. Ventura also notes that “The participation level in girl’s lacrosse has grown tremendously in the last couple of years making it one of the fastest growing high school sports in the United States. 25 states across the nation offer girls lacrosse in high school, and many of those states are areas that our admissions and coaching staff currently recruit in. Vermont alone has 32 high schools that offer the sport of girls lacrosse.”

In the next year, the department plans to hire a coach who will be tasked with recruiting nine incoming students to play women’s lacrosse, coupled with nine current students’ participation. In the years after, the coach will recruit from six to eight new students.

The Athletic Department anticipates spending $10,000 for recruitment efforts during the 2013-2014 academic year. The department plans to budget roughly $36,500 for the 2014-2015 season, and for each season thereafter, to cover expenses such as: equipment, officials, travel, lodging, meals on the road and during break, coaches’ stipends, and recruiting.

“Women’s lacrosse is an ideal addition to our sports offerings because it is played in the spring,” said Ventura. “With seven of our 12 programs starting their season in late August and then our two winter programs starting their season in October, the addition of a spring sport will prevent us from overloading the fall season and stretching staffing and field availability too thin. At the end of the day, all those involved felt adding the sport of women’s lacrosse contributes to campus life and vitality that adds to Johnson State College’s appeal.”