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Windsor Mulls Adding Lacrosse Teams

Windsor — Bob Hingston knows a little about starting up a new sports program. In 1967 he was a junior at Fall Mountain Regional High School when football was introduced as a varsity sport. Hingston recalls many of the players on that first team did not even know how to put the equipment on, let alone play the sport.

“On the kickoff during our first game with a good Monadnock team, we had like five players get hurt,” said Hingston.

“I was the first Fall Mountain player to carry the ball. It was a dive play. I got clobbered before I reached the line of scrimmage. It’s something I’ll never forget.”

Now, 47 years later, in his role as athletic director at Windsor High School, Hingston is involved in a situation somewhat similar to what occurred in his Fall Mountain days. This year, Hingston has been asked by the administration to investigate the possibility of starting a boys and girls lacrosse program.

Establishing a new sport is tough enough in a school with a sizeable enrollment. But at Windsor, there are only 205 students in grades 9-12, and in the spring, when lacrosse is played, Windsor already offers baseball, track and golf for the boys, and softball and track for the girls.

Lacrosse is a vigorous sport that requires 11 starters and a solid number of reserves. Hingston is concerned that the numbers at the Windsor school are just not there.

“Last spring, we had 19 kids who wrote their names down that they wanted to play. But that doesn’t mean that they will be trying out for the sport this year, ” Hingston said. “These were not all new athletes, some were already playing another spring sport.”

Windsor, despite its small enrollment, is a school that gets a large percentage of its students to participate in athletics. But in the spring, there are already problems in sub-varsity sports that were not offered because of a lack of participation.

“I have real fear of having to drop softball or baseball because lacrosse has divided the available athletes,” said Hingston.

High School principal Bridget Fariel is providing the push for lacrosse, and Hingston, as AD, said that he will do as he is charged and make every effort to get lacrosse off and running. Fariel was out of town for the week and unavailable for comment.

“She approached me and told me this is a sport she would like me to investigate, and that’s what I’ll do,” Hingston said. “Right now I think we would start at some sort of club level and work from there.”

Of the 19 students who signed up, most were boys. And Hingston thought if the girls fail to raise enough numbers for an entire team, a possible solution would be to join with another school in a cooperative program.

Not every school in southern Vermont offers lacrosse, however. It is not played in Bellows Falls, Springfield, Black River or Green Mountain, but it is offered at Hartford, Woodstock and Burr and Burton. Hingston indicated his girls could possibly be incorporated within one of those schools’ programs.

“I just don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “We’ll have to wait until spring to find out.”

Then there is the financing question. Lacrosse is not an expensive sport once it is established, but in the first years there are sticks, pads, helmets, goals and other equipment that must be purchased.

“We’ll probably have to do some fundraising,” Hingston said.

There might be added difficulties in filling out a schedule, since the sport is not played in all area New Hampshire schools.

Also, a school like Stevens — with three times the enrollment of Windsor — has been struggling to establish lacrosse. And after three seasons, the Cardinals continue to lose regularly by double-digit scores.

“It’s not like we have a tremendous group of adults in Windsor who have played it some and can pass what they know to their children,” Hingston said. “Lacrosse is a physical sport that require a lot of running and contact. It’s not for everybody. There are a lot of bumps and bruises.

“A lot of lacrosse players are the same ones who have played football.”

Hingston has advertised for coaches and has gotten a couple of responses, but right now the AD is unsure if there is even going to be a need for coaches.

“In the spring, with this economy, a lot of kids are working and not playing any sport,” said Hingston. “We also have a lot of students who come from single-parent homes. I don’t know how this is going to work out, but we are going to give it a try.”