Wilson College continues to expand its intercollegiate athletics program with the addition in 2020-21 of women’s lacrosse─the fastest-growing NCAA women’s sport of the past 15 years.
Women’s lacrosse will become Wilson’s 11th NCAA Division III program. In the past six years, the college has added six intercollegiate programs─most recently baseball, which begins its inaugural season this spring, with home games to be held at Chambersburg’s historic Henninger Field.
“Our sport sponsorship continues to expand and we are excited to add the growing sport of women’s lacrosse to Phoenix Athletics,” said Wilson Director of Athletics Lori Frey. “We look forward to yet another sport competing in the Colonial States Athletics Conference.”
A national search for a head coach will get underway immediately to allow the new coach to begin recruiting during the 2019-20 academic year, officials said. The full-time head coach will also coordinate a new recreation and intramural program.
“The CSAC is thrilled that Wilson College is enhancing its sport sponsorship offerings with the addition of women’s lacrosse,” Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) Commissioner Adrienne Mullikin said. “Wilson will become the seventh core member in the conference to sponsor women’s lacrosse in 2020-21, which allows the CSAC to achieve one of its primary goals of maintaining automatic qualifiers to the NCAA tournament. The CSAC applauds the administration at Wilson for recognizing this opportunity to strengthen the conference and we look forward to watching this program flourish in the years to come.”
Over the past 15 years, the number of women’s lacrosse teams has increased by 97.3 percent, making it the fastest-growing sport for women during that time, according to the NCAA. In 2017-18, 45.3 percent of NCAA schools sponsored women’s lacrosse, which is officially a spring sport. The sport’s growth shows no signs of slowing and in the past two years alone, NCAA women’s lacrosse has gained 22 teams, officials said.
“Expanding our athletics offerings is a strong component of Wilson’s overall enrollment growth and student retention strategy,” said David Boisvert, the college’s vice president for enrollment management. “Adding women’s lacrosse is another important step in reaching those goals.”
Lacrosse has a long history at Wilson. The college officially fielded a team in 1934-35 and lacrosse continued until 1984, when a shift in sport sponsorship occured. During the late 1960s, the lacrosse team was coached by Kathy Heinze, an English Reserve player who went on to coach the undefeated, 1975 U.S. Lacrosse Team that included Wilson alumnae Sandy Walker '74 and Constance Burgess Lanzl '72, who was later inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
In addition to lacrosse in 2020-21, Wilson-sponsored Division III athletics programs include: field hockey, softball, men’s and women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, golf, and the previously mentioned baseball.
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