Oswego D-308 looks at adding girls wrestling, boys and girls lacrosse as IHSA sports

coach as she wrestles Peotone’s Kiernan Farmer in the 170-pound class at the girls wrestling state finals at Grossinger Motor Arena in Bloomington on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.

Oswego School District 308 could join other school districts across the state in offering girls wrestling and boys and girls lacrosse as Illinois High School Association sanctioned sports.

Staff is recommending the district add girls wrestling along with boys lacrosse and girls lacrosse beginning in the fall and presented the proposal to Oswego School Board members at their Feb. 26 board meeting.

Board members are expected to vote on the proposal at a future meeting. Several parents at the meeting spoke in favor of the proposal, including Oswego resident David Julian.

His two children currently attend Traughber Junior High School. He would like to see his children to have the chance to play lacrosse when they enter high school.

“I have no horse in this race as of today,” Julian said in addressing board members. “I’m looking further down the road for it to be an opportunity for my kids to continue what they feel is their dream.

Lacrosse was added as an IHSA sport in 2016-17. There currently are 96 lacrosse boys teams and 82 lacrosse girls teams throughout the state.

“There are five teams in our conference that offer this and many more are thinking about adding this as well because of the growth of the sport,” Dan Arntzen, the district’s executive director of high school instruction and K-12 assessments, told school board members.

He spoke about the benefits of providing additional sports options at an IHSA level.

“The opportunities present themselves to grow our students in a lot of different ways,” Arntzen said. “There are opportunities for other sports to be added that would provide our students opportunities that would be great for them and great for their maturity as well.”

District 308 offers all sports that are IHSA sanctioned except for boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls water polo and girls wrestling. Girls currently participate in the boys wrestling program.

Girls have been competing in boys wrestling for several years and the interest continues to grow each year. This school year, Oswego High School had 15 girls involved and Oswego East High School had six girls involved with the boys’ program.

As proposed, the two high schools would have two separate girls wrestling teams. It would cost an estimated $24,700 in the first year of the program to add girls wrestling.

That cost includes uniforms, transportation, coaching stipends, officials and workers fees and miscellaneous expenses. The estimated cost to add a girls lacrosse team in the first year is $24,960.

Adding a boys lacrosse team is expected to cost $31,040 in the first year.