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Lacrosse proposal decided upon

Last week's school board meeting was thought to be little more than a formality.

After the District 833 administration representatives Assistant Superint-endent Dr. Randy Zipf and Park Activities Director Phil Kuemmel recommended Park, East Ridge and Woodbury high schools should enter into a two-team cooperative for girls lacrosse and a one-team cooperative for boys lacrosse, in a workshop used by the board to gather information prior to its Nov. 19 school board meeting, it would have been a big surprise to many if the board decided to go a different direction.

According to Kuemmel, things went pretty much as planned at last week's meeting as the school board unanimously approved the administration's proposal.

"There wasn't really much discussion at all," Kuemmel said. "Any questions raised were by those school board members who weren't at the workshop. It was pretty much opened and closed."

Based on feedback it collected from the area's lacrosse community -- including coaches, parents and players the administration followed the South Washington County lacrosse community's recommendation on what to do with the sport in this season when it brought its proposal in front of the school board in the workshop back on Nov. 5 in Cottage Grove.

For the past three years, the girls and boys lacrosse programs in this area have operated as a cooperative between Park and Woodbury. However, the addition of East Ridge called for a re-examination of the situation.

The final hurdle on the plans is now approval by the Minnesota State High School League.

While it is likely the MSHSL would approve the district's proposal for the girls program, it is possible the league will deny the proposal for the boys program, because, according to Kuemmel, the league looks mainly at numbers and doesn't factor much else into its decisions.

"The application for a co-op is one page, they just want that one page, along with feedback from the other schools in the conference," Kuemmel said. "We can share our passion with them on this issue, but they don't want anything more than our application."

According to the South Washington County Schools Administrative report on the issue, the area will have a projected 104 boys tryout for lacrosse this spring.

With the district's proposal, those 104 kids would be split into five teams -- one varsity team, one junior varsity team and three "prep" teams -- one for each school -- which would compete in the Minnesota Boys Scholastic Lacrosse Association. In the proposal no cuts would be made.

Woodbury/Park head coach Rich Limpert and many community members have said they feel strongly the boys program become a three-school, one-team cooperative, because of a belief a Park/East Ridge cooperative team doesn't have the talent or experience to compete -- creating a potentially dangerous situation in a fast-paced collision sport.

Out of the little over 100 kids projected to come out for lacrosse, the booster club felt approximately 50 would be freshman.

Kuemmel believes there will be a final decision before the end of the calendar year.

"We got it through the board," Kummel said. "Now, it's pretty much in the hands of the high school league. We'll see what happens from there."

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