CEDAR GROVE, NJ – There will be a new varsity sport in Cedar Grove next spring. On Tuesday the Board of Education approved the 2016/2017 school budget which provides for a varsity lacrosse program at Cedar Grove High School next year.
One of the fastest growing sports, lacrosse had been late in arriving to Cedar Grove but has quickly gained momentum. The youth program has tripled in size in the three years of its existence, according to Cedar Grove Lacrosse Club President Kevin Brown. When the district first announced it was adding lacrosse in the spring of 2015, the plan was to start a club team to generate interest, however when more than 45 students signed the district opted to create separate boys and girls junior varsity teams right off the bat.
Last year the teams played a modified JV schedule of six games with the boys going 5-1 and the girls 0-6. This year the teams are playing a regular JV schedule with the boys currently at 6-1 and the girls at 5-1. Boys Coach Dave Bucchino and Girls Coach Sean Sweeney were both pleased with the boards’ approval and the move to varsity status.
“I believe that both the boys and girls lacrosse programs are ready to take that next step and compete at the varsity level. I know that will be an added pressure on us, but I strongly believe that our players will be able to confront and overcome any obstacles that stand in their way, including stepping up a competition level,” Sweeney said. “Our girls have earned wins against Hackettstown and Tenafly who also plan to compete at the varsity level next spring. This gives me the confidence to say that when we get there we will fit right in with some of the more established programs.”
“It’s exciting to know that we will be a varsity program next year. We are grateful to the board, Mr. Fetherman, Mr. Mangili and Mr. Gogerty for giving us the opportunity and for sticking by us these two years and really allowing us to build the program,” Bucchino said. “We also need to thank the parents and the players for their dedication to the sport and the team. They are really paving the way for future players in Cedar Grove.”
Brown said the news of the varsity program will only strengthen the youth program, which continues to grow, jumping from six competitive teams last year to eight competitive teams this year.
“I'm excited about the high school going varsity. Our youth program has continued its amazing growth on both the boys and girls side and I'm sure that that we will be a great feeder program,” Brown noted. “For example, our current fifth grade group, Class of 2023, will enter the high school with eight years of lacrosse development through our program. I think that when that class joins the high school program, Cedar Grove will be a force to be reckoned with.”