10 HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS
A lacrosse milestone for Tampa Bay: The whistle sounded and lacrosse sticks clashed as two helmeted warriors dueled for a gleaming new lacrosse ball.
With a match between Jesuit and Wharton High, varsity lacrosse began in Hillsborough County public schools last month, a milestone for Tampa Bay.
A year ago, many of the players on Hillsborough's teams had never gripped a lacrosse stick. But thanks to the devoted work of HALAX, the Hillsborough Lacrosse Alliance, lacrosse is now a varsity sport in the county, with more than 500 players filling the rosters of 10 public high schools. However, unlike most varsity sports, lacrosse is currently a pay-to-play sport, meaning that players pay a fee to HALAX, which in turn provides equipment, referees and field maintenance. For the next three seasons, HALAX will help to fund a pilot program that will guide county schools in establishing lacrosse teams. According to HALAX president Jonathan Levy, lacrosse is the "fastest growing sport in America."
The sport's flourishing popularity is helping fuel the move to public schools.
"One of the main differences about being a varsity sport is that we now have a closeness between our local high schools," says Kristi Artenian, the head coach of girls lacrosse at Robinson High. "We want to make our schools proud — we are here to compete."
Often called the "fastest sport on two feet," lacrosse is quick, complex and aggressive. Boys lacrosse, far more violent than the girls' game, regularly contains combative checks (hits made with the lacrosse stick), with aggression similar to that of hockey. Plant High defensive player Matt Hafer enjoys the quick aggression of lacrosse. "My favorite part . . . is the fast-paced, think-on-your-feet atmosphere," the freshman said. "Or just hitting people with sticks."
Though lacrosse may seem intimidating to a newcomer, it's not as hard to pick up as it seems — just ask Hillsborough County's approximately 400 beginners. New and experienced players alike enjoy the camaraderie of the lacrosse community. "It's a unique sport, and that's why I love it," said Delaney Turton, Plant freshman. "You get to do something different, and the team is like a family," she said after a recent win.
Coach Artenian's passion for lacrosse is evident as she smiles on the field before practice. "It's a phenomenal sport — lacrosse is in the Tampa Bay area to stay, jump on board!" Carson Eckhard, Robinson High freshman, tb-two* staffer
Extra extra, read all about it: Gibbs students know how to do a job right! Special diploma students distribute each issue of tb-two* for their Community Based Instruction Program. To develop employment skills, the students run a distribution system in which they collect copies and organize them for delivery to classrooms, the front office, media center and cafeteria. The students wear tb-two* shirts and IDs as their uniforms. Every successful delivery is then marked on a payroll sheet. Anna Scott, Gibbs High teacher (Note from tb-two* editors: THANK YOU! And, to the best delivery team around:Be sure to take a break for a moment to read all about your accomplishments!)
EAST LAKE HIGH SCHOOL
Off to Neverland! Looking for a little magic in your life? Or at least a guy wearing green tights? The East Lake High drama program is putting on the much-loved classic, Peter Pan. It will be performed at 7 p.m. April 10-12 in the auditorium at East Lake. Tickets are $12 at the door. The play stars Courteney McClutchy as Peter; Annabelle Clawson as Wendy; Daniel Miro-Chinea as Capt. Hook; Nick Torres as Michael Darling; and Dylan Allen as John Darling. Crocs and gators, please check your tick-tock clocks at the door. Angelina DeVincenzo, senior, tb-two* staffer
Compiled by William Harvey, King High
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