RICHLAND LACROSSE CLUB
Q. Why is Richland Lacrosse starting a new youth program when we already have such strong youth programs in the Tri-Cities?
A. Without intense growth within the areas that feed our high schools it will be difficult to field teams, let alone competitive, viable high school programs with the current and upcoming mandates by WHSBLA (described in more detail below). Richland Lacrosse has chosen to follow the example of other premier clubs that have instituted “feeder programs” to the high school club to support their lacrosse community. These feeder programs have proven to be enormously successful in growing sustainable and competitive teams.
Q. What do you mean by a “feeder program”?
A. Probably the easiest things to relate to are the local feeder programs in other sports. For example, Richland High School Basketball has Gunners as its feeder program and Richland High School Football has Jr. Bombers as its feeder program. Historically, the Prosser Mustangs’ football program set the benchmark for its feeder program. Richland’s President, its Head Coach, and one of its Assistant Coaches met with the head coaches from Issaquah and Skyline in Seattle to see how they run their youth lacrosse feeder programs. We were able to see the youth games in action, and able to spend time and ask questions of their program directors, etc. Richland is modeling its feeder program on what we learned from Issaquah and Skyline, adapted to our circumstances in Richland.
Q. What are the benefits of Richland having a feeder program?
A. There are many. A few of the highlights:
• More incentive to grow the sport in our community. We currently don’t have a Richland lacrosse youth program that is focused solely on Richland. By focusing on developing the game in Richland and creating opportunities that are Richland-based, we will tap into some schools and areas that have not previously been focused on (e.g., North Richland).
• Support and coordination between the youth and high school club. Richland High School coaching staff and players will be active participants in coaching and working with the youth programs. This will include youth coaches being trained and taught by current and former Richland High coaches and players. The fundamentals that are taught in the youth program will be consistent with the fundamentals that we expect from our high school boys as they enter into Richland’s high school program.
• Better tracking and coordination of where we need to expand the youth program. For example, this year we only have 3 freshmen in Richland’s program. We need to have 10 from each grade to sustain a varsity and junior varsity program. In addition, it makes it possible to track positions and address any deficits. With a Richland program, we will have better insight in terms of what classes need growth to support both a Richland and Hanford program.
Q. Who will coach our kids?
A. There are three categories: (1) coaches from Tri-Cities youth programs, (2) Richland High School Club coaches, and (3) current and former Richland High School players. Rob Hart is our program director and responsible for recruiting, training, and coordinating all the coaches in Richland LAX. Rob has been involved in Tri-Cities lacrosse for over 10 years. He has coached at the varsity level for 8 years. Our goal is to have each head coach for each of our programs be at least US LAX Class I certified. We currently have 2 level II certified, 2 level I certified, and all high school coaches have completed level I online classes. All coaches are current First Aid/CPR/AED certified and have completed a National Background check. We will continue to look at additional coaches for the youth program and have some names right now. Anyone that has interest in being a youth coach please contact Rob Hart as we will always continue to look for the best opportunities for our players.
Q. What is happening with High School Lacrosse in Tri-Cities?
A. Boys high school lacrosse in the state of Washington is governed by WHSBLA (Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association). In 2016 WHSBLA adopted a “Conglomerate Programs” policy that is meant to do away with high school programs that are made up of players from multiple high schools. Under this new policy – all conglomerate programs will be mandated to “split” their programs in the next 2-3 years. The local programs affected by this policy are Chiawana Lacrosse (currently made up of students from Chiawana, Pasco, Hanford and Kiona-Benton High Schools) and Southridge Lacrosse (currently made up of Southridge, Kennewick, and Kamiakin High School students).
For additional information on this policy – please visit WHSBLA’s website at: http://whsbla.org/Page.asp?n=82931&org=WHSBLA.ORG.
In addition to the changes in the Conglomerate Programs policy – WHSBLA changed it size classifications for competition from Division I and II to: 4A, 3A, Private A and 1A/2A. This change requires our high school programs to compete at a higher level of competition statewide.
Q. What if the high school programs don’t want to split or don’t have the numbers to field teams when WHSBLA mandates they split?
A. High school programs that don’t comply with these mandates will not be able to officially compete. WHSBLA has suggested that those that will be affected by these “splits” plan for them by starting youth feeder programs that will allow for growth and recruitment in those areas.
Q. Was Richland Lacrosse affected by these mandates?
A. Yes. In 2017 Richland Lacrosse “split” from our previous conglomerate program that included Hanford, Chiawana, Kiona-Benton, and Pasco High Schools. As of 2017 – Richland Lacrosse Club is no longer a conglomerate program.
Q. What does this mean for Hanford players?
A. Richland Lacrosse Club is dedicated to the Tri-Cities lacrosse community and “Growing the Game”. With this in mind, Richland Lacrosse Club will focus our efforts on growing the game in Richland with plans to do all we are able to support Hanford High School when it starts its own high school and possible youth program in 2019. Until Hanford has its own high school team and youth program – Hanford K-8 is invited to play for Richland Lacrosse Club and Hanford 9-12 will play for Chiawana Lacrosse Club.
Q. What about girls’ lacrosse?
A. Currently Three Rivers Lacrosse has the only girls’ lacrosse program in the Tri-Cities. While this program is growing, it currently doesn’t have the numbers to be viable if split. Richland Lacrosse will help to support and grow girls’ lacrosse within Richland by including girls’ lacrosse in our recruitment efforts with hopes that in the future we can add girls’ lacrosse to Richland Lacrosse Club.