By Mark Schmetzer, Enquirer contributor / Photo by ESP Media
After years of statewide competition sponsored by Lacrosse Ohio, Ohio high school lacrosse is heading off in a new direction this season.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association has sanctioned lacrosse and starts sponsoring competition for 136 boys teams and 121 girls teams across the state this season. Regular-season competition can start on March 17.
"So far, so good," first-year Indian Hill girls coach Morgan McDonald said. "We obviously have a few more rules to follow this year, but we are excited for the changes and the sanctioning."
The transition reminds St. Xavier coach Nate Sprong of growing up in central New York, an area considered to a lacrosse hotbed.
"Transition to an OHSAA-sanctioned sport acknowledges the commitment and giving back to the game so many people have demonstrated over the past 30 years to grow the sport in Ohio," Sprong said.
Sprong welcomes his entire defense - Brady Stoll, Anthony Longi and Carl Grimm - along with goalkeeper Zach Groene and midfielder Caleb Anderson back from a team that finished 19-3 and ranked third in the Midwest by LaxPower.com.
The Bombers lost to Loveland, 6-5, in triple overtime in last season's Division I regional final. Twelve-year assistant Steve Rice takes over as the Tigers' coach and is welcomed by seven returning starters, including junior attacker Adam Clark, one of Ohio's top three scorers last season.
"I like the veteran, senior leadership we have coming back," Rice said. "We have a 20-player senior class with strong depth through our midfield and defenders. Senior long-stick midfielder Drew Grafflin should lead a good defense in the middle of the field and will provide additional leadership to the team."
FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE ARTICLE & PLAYERS TO WATCH, CLICK THE LINK BELOW.SEE MORE @ CINCINNATI.COM