The Harbor Fire girls lacrosse program is following the path of local boys lacrosse and will represent Gig Harbor High School starting in spring of 2017.
While the sport isn’t yet recognized by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, the players will wear “Tides” jerseys and gear. Recently, the boys Harbor Fire lacrosse program split into two teams — one representing Gig Harbor High School and the other representing Peninsula.
“Harbor Fire” is now “Gig Harbor Lacrosse” and the Peninsula team is operated by the Peninsula Lacrosse Association.
“We’re all one program,” said Josh Hannan, the president of Gig Harbor Lacrosse. “It gets challenging when you’re ordering Harbor Fire stuff and Gig Harbor Tides stuff. We decided to streamline everything.”
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The girls program has three youth teams and one high school team. About 100 girls in total participate in Gig Harbor Lacrosse at various levels. The high schoolers will have the opportunity to represent the Tides.
“The girls will be really excited about that,” said Mark Frank, athletic director of the Gig Harbor Lacrosse girls program.
While a couple of the girls on the team actually attend Peninsula High School, there aren’t enough to create a Peninsula High team. As of now, those girls will also wear the blue and white Tides jerseys.
“They’re a part of our program, and they’re welcome,” Hannan said. “We couldn’t do a Peninsula jersey for just two kids. We understand they want to play for their school. That’s just the challenge of growing.”
Growth and recognition are two of the bigger factors at play here. Local lacrosse programs are trying to integrate themselves closely with the school’s identity, so that when the opportunity to become a WIAA-sanctioned sport arises, they’ll be ready.
“It’s a move in the direction of becoming a recognized high school sport in the state,” Frank said. “There’s still quite a bit of legwork for that to happen. The fact that the school is interested is a positive thing.”
Frank encouraged folks to check out the sport, if they haven’t already.
“The exciting thing about girls lacrosse is that because it’s a newer sport in the area, it’s exciting if you want an opportunity to play a new sport,” Frank said. “You don’t need a whole lot of experience to do that. If you’re looking for something that’s exciting, fast-paced, a lot of ball movement, scoring, then it’s a good fit. You’re not standing around. We don’t suffer a lot of rain-outs. We play in all weather.”
Gig Harbor Lacrosse is in the process of hiring a new coach for the girls team for the 2017 spring season.