FORT MITCHELL – Ultimately, they would like lacrosse to be sanctioned by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, the same as in Ohio, which just awarded that distinction to the sport at the high school level.
If interest increases over the years and that happens, the Northern Kentucky Lacrosse Club would have to exist in a different form, as its players would begin competing for their own schools. But for now, the club will continue trying to win as much as it can at the club level.
“We’ll be a club team for younger kids if that happens,” said head coach Paul Herbert. “If it becomes a varsity sport, they’ll have to go to their high schools. Lacrosse gives kids a chance to play something different. A lot of kids don’t play any other sport or they play a fall sport and don’t have anything in the spring.”
NKY is one of three local boys lacrosse teams south of the river that have been competing at the varsity high school level in recent years. Covington Catholic and Dixie Heights also have established teams. The NKY team plays its home games at Beechwood High School and has about half of its players attend school there, but also has players from several other schools in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties.
The club has to scramble each year for practice space in nearby parks. The club is open to all of Northern Kentucky except for schools such as CCH and Dixie Heights, which have teams of their own.
“We have an open policy. If you come and try out, we’ve never cut a kid,” Herbert said. “The kids are going to be new because the sport is growing. We have a JV and varsity squad, and the JV kids are the developmental team. They play a full schedule of games.”
NKY finished undefeated in district play this year, in a district that includes the other two local teams plus Scott County and Bryan Station. The team was 9-3 overall, losing to Dixie Heights in the state quarterfinals.
Jeremy Burns, a 2015 Beechwood graduate, was named first team all-state this season for the third consecutive year. He had 10 goals in one match against Dixie earlier in the season and 71 for the season to lead the entire state. Burns plays football for the Tigers on the same turf they play lacrosse on. He will play lacrosse at the college level after signing with NCAA Division II Limestone in South Carolina, who is two-defending national champions in the sport. Burns also had 53 assists.
“I attribute my success in lacrosse from the speed, strength and agility training that comes from playing football,” Burns said in an interview on the Heritage Lacrosse website. “Also, my dad was my coach growing up so I always had access to a goal and a bucket of balls.”
Jake Massie, an incoming sophomore at Beechwood, had 50 goals last season. Graduate Gianni Savignano will play the sport at Dominican College in New York. Tyler Massie will attend Eastern Kentucky University.
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