JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One of the fastest-growing high school sports in the country will be on full display this week.
Lacrosse takes center stage at Episcopal beginning Thursday evening with the first two of eight games in the High School 9:12′s Rivalry on the River event. The Creekside girls thumped Bolles 22-1, and the Nease boys beat St. Augustine 17-4 in the openers.
The Fleming Island boys beat Bartram Trail 11-9 and the Bolles boys routed Menendez 17-2 on Friday night.
A full slate of four games happen Saturday. All eight games were streamed on News4Jax.com. The four games Saturday were televised live on CW17 and broadcast on 1010XL radio.
High School 9:12 has previously been behind baseball, basketball and football events that have grown year over year with both a TV and radio element behind it. The Rivalry on the River is the first venture into lacrosse, which has been steadily growing in the state.
Ponte Vedra coach Tom West, whose Sharks team won the 2019 state championship and finished ranked No. 3 in the nation, said the growth of the sport has been fascinating to be a part of. Fifteen years ago, there were fewer than four dozen teams in the state that were fielding high school teams in Florida.
Now, the sport continues to boom, as evidenced by a three-day event punctuated by TV and radio coverage.
“I would say mission accomplished. You know, that’s kind of what we started out for a long time ago,” West said of the sport becoming more visible locally.