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Archive for June 5, 2021

June 5, 2021 — A pair of ambitious concepts

In about three weeks, four of the best girls’ lacrosse teams of the last few years are scheduled to face off against each other in a tournament in Columbia, Md. what is being billed as a “Girls High School Nationals.”

A week later, in a sports complex in Farmington, Conn., some 48 scholastic girls’ lacrosse teams are scheduled to participate in what is called a “Girls High School Lacrosse National Championship.”

Yeah, I said “scholastic.” Instead of prominent club sides like the Yellow Jackets, NXT, or Hero’s Lacrosse, the names of the teams are familiar to you: Darien (Conn.), Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.), Moorestown (N.J.), Brooklandville St. Paul’s (Md.), Canandaigua (N.Y.) Academy, Rosemong Agnes Irwin (Pa.), and Wilmette Loyola Academy (Ill.).

Yep, high-school teams, playing weekend-long tournaments towards an ultimate winner.

This isn’t the first time that elite scholastic girls’ lacrosse teams have been matched against each other. A few years ago, organized a series of games around the country which involved a number of elite-level teams playing intersectional games against each other.

Several years ago, eight games were contested at Brooklandville St. Paul’s (Md.) featuring four Maryland teams and four New York teams in the New York-Maryland Challenge.

And now, 52 teams are looking to see who is the best of the best in two separate competitions.

In the last few years, organizers ranging from websites to shoe companies to major television networks have attempted to create something approaching national championship events in everything from football to cross-country running.

When I first heard of the Girls High School National Lacrosse Championship, I expected it to be a little like field hockey’s National High School Invitational — a weekend of intersectional games where teams would play as many games as it was allowed to, given the rules of each individual state, without an elimination bracket at the end.

But what I found interesting is that this tournament is going to finish off in a competitive fashion, with the tournament finishing July 2nd, which is later than the graduation of several of the teams in the pool of partcipants.

In addition, I find it interesting that there are teams in this competition from states which have been notoriously restrictive in terms of play. Take, for example, New Jersey. Three teams were invited from the Garden State, whose governing body has precise rules on the number of games that can be played in a week, the number of games that can be played in a day, the number of out-of-state games allowed, and the final day of competition, which is, according to the NJSIAA’s website, June 20th.

The Girls High School Nationals, however, is more limited in scope and scale, and has no school which plays under the aegis of the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Now, I get the fact that the organizers of these events want to be able to get together a girls’ lacrosse event to match last week’s boys’ lacrosse national tournament held in Washington, D.C. But knowing how thorny the regulations tend to be when it comes to interstate competition, I have a feeling there is going to be a significant revision for any future iterations.