On the grow: Westfield High School adds lacrosse as varsity sport

Attacker Molly O’Brien practices shooting the ball. (Photo by Adam Seif)

Participation for boys and girls lacrosse keeps growing in Indiana, and Westfield High School has taken notice.

The high school has made lacrosse into a varsity sport this year with both boys and girls lacrosse teams playing at the school’s soccer/lacrosse field. Lacrosse is not an IHSAA-sanctioned sport but is governed by the Indiana High School Lacrosse Association.

“I think we have 15 girls that are brand new to lacrosse who have come out to join as well because they are excited to hear what is going on,” said Westfield girls lacrosse coach Kirk Reis, who took over the program in June 2022.

Reis, who attended Carmel High School before moving to Michigan before his senior year, played soccer his entire life and has coached lacrosse for seven years.

Most of the girls have been together on the Westfield club team. The Westfield girls team, which opens the season March 7 at Noblesville, has moved up to 2A for the larger schools this season.

Molly O’Brien, who plays attack and sometimes midfield, has played the previous three years for the club.

“I think it’s a lot more of a big deal,” O”Brien said of the sport gaining high school status. “Our school is posting things for our games and really getting our name out there versus last year when we were a club. I think this year we will have a lot more student fans at our games.”

O’Brien said when she first started playing, there were barely enough players to make two teams.

“Now we have three teams, so we have expanded,” she said.

From left, Westfield High School lacrosse players Kayla Reis, Ella Lowery. Charley Kocsis, Ally Weirick and Molly O’Brien pause with their sticks. (Photos by Adam Seif)

Junior Ella Lowery, who plays defense, said there are a lot of benefits to being supported by the school.

“As much as we like to say being a club doesn’t affect it, it’s really nice to know as a sport you are recognized by the school as well,” Lowery said. “We are mentioned on our school social media.”

Reis took over the program in June.

“I’m just continuing the success the program has had in the past,” he said. “We are doing a lot of work on speed and quickness and stick skills, being able to catch the ball and move it.”

Junior Kayla Reis, who is Kirk Reis’ daughter and started playing lacrosse in the fourth grade, plays attack and midfield and takes the draw.

“I love the community,” Reis said. “All the girls are close and like family. It’s all super fun.”

Junior Charley Kocsis, who plays attack, started playing seven years ago.

“I used to play a bunch of other sports but dropped them just to focus on lacrosse when I moved to Westfield,” said Kocsis, who moved to Westfield from Indianapolis in seventh grade. “I enjoy the sport and how the team dynamic works together. That’s what I like more than the other sports I played.”

Junior Ally Weirick, a midfielder, started playing lacrosse in fifth grade and played soccer until her freshman year.

“We have a very different team style now, so I’m excited to see how that plays out,” Weirick said. “ (Coach Reis) is more laid back than our other coaches were. He’s very uplifting.”

Assistant coach Jed Lee demonstrates a drill during a recent practice

Boys lacrosse team sees growth

Westfiehld High School coach Troy Dinkel has seen the boys lacrosse program expand this season, too.

The Westfield program has grown from 32 players last season to 47 this season.

Dinkel said he believes the reason for the growth is the school recognizing it as a sport.

“It’s a little bit cheaper to play because some of our cost is picked up by the school district,” said Dinkel, who is in his sixth season as Westfield boys lacrosse coach. “The school has been fantastic with this transition and been very supportive along with other coaches in the school.”

Westfield returns eight starters from last season’s team. The boys open the season March 7 against visiting Carmel.