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Carolina Forest High School is one of three schools that will be getting S.C. High School League-sanctioned lacrosse programs thanks to a Tuesday night vote by the Horry County School District.

The vote was unanimous and came after Daryl Brown, the district’s executive director of student affairs, once again encouraged the board to approve the request which also included sanctioning the sport at Myrtle Beach and St. James high schools.

Socastee High already has a sanctioned lacrosse program.

Carolina Forest has a lacrosse club, but Adam Gross — the boy’s team coach — said having a sanctioned team opens the door for new opportunities.

“In part it’s funding. Club sports are funded by the players and by money they raise.

“There is a budget provided for a sanctioned sport and other things such as buses and fields. Everything that goes into having a team,” Gross said.

The team will now be able to compete in playoffs and be eligible to earn state honors.

“And it’s a lot easier for a player to make it to the next level by playing for a sanctioned team rather than a club team,” Gross added.

The additional sanctioned teams will help Socastee because that team currently has to travel to Columbia or Charleston to get matches, Brown said.

Brown added that there will now be five sanctioned teams in the area because the team from Waccamaw High in Pawleys Island is also sanctioned.

“That will cut our transportation costs down tremendously,” Brown said.

Michael LeSando, girl’s lacrosse coach at Pepper Geddings Recreation Center, said it is the fastest growing sport in America. He said schools in the bigger cities in the state have sanctioned lacrosse teams.

“We have the next biggest population, so it would make sense for us to have the teams,” LeSando said. “We have people who transfer in here all the time from Maryland and New Jersey who play lacrosse.”

The 14-game lacrosse season begins in February and continues until mid-April.

“It is good cross-training for football players. It keeps them conditioned in their off season,” LeSando said.

School Board Chairman Joe DeFeo said he was glad to see unanimous approval by the school board for the sanctioning.

“Sports are extremely important for the schools. Lacrosse has become a pretty competitive sport in South Carolina as of recent. By adding it, we end up having more students able to participate in sports,” he said.

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