It is always important to look back and see how far boys High School Lacrosse has come and share just how it got started.
The story begins in 1994 with some former college players who played for Mazzi's Portland Lacrosse Club. At that time there were a few college club teams (Linnfield, Willamette, OSU, and the U of O), but they relied mostly on out of state students since there were no high school programs in Oregon from which to draw experienced players. Some Mazzi players decided to form high school teams to expose the game to boys in the state and, with lots of hard work, got some teams started up. First it was Bill Rexford at Glencoe and Mark Flood at West Linn. The next year both OES, under Kris Van Hatcher, and Lakeridge, under Curt Sheinin, started up their programs. As Coach Sheinin notes: "We played each other a lot". But you can't have games without officials, so Fred Zensen, Kent Roberts, Skylar Goodrich, and Paul Gustafson helped fill that need as the state's first officials.
In December 1996, high school lacrosse had grown to six teams (Glencoe, Lakeridge, West Linn, OES, Hood River, & Lake Oswego) and the OHSLA was formed with Jim Hammon as the first commissioner. The role of the OHSLA was (and is) to coordinate the scheduling of games and officials in addition to serving as the governing body for high school lacrosse in the state. The following year (1997) the first state championship was held and Lakeridge defeated OES in the title game. Also that year, the first OHSLA All Star team was selected.
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Glencoe - 1996 State Champions
What no tracking of ground balls? Yeah there were a lot of them... If you think the sticks look goofy...you should see what they had to wear for helmets!
To meet the growing need to recruit/train and certify officials, the Oregon Lacrosse Officials Association (OLOA) was formed in 2004 with 25 certified officials. By 2013, the number of officials had grown to almost 90, all certified as level 2 officials under the auspices of US Lacrosse. A large number of these officials are also college rated and work at both levels.
Under the guidance of the OHSLA and OLOA, that small four team league has grown into what we now have today: 51 varsity programs with over 2,400 student athletes playing lacrosse. You can check some of the history of the league as far back as 2002 by visiting the OHSLA Archives to see old playoff brackets, standings, and all-stars. In 2014, we will welcome our 52nd program into the fold, representing Ridgeview High School in Redmond Oregon. The game continues to grow and we hope will continue to spread across the entire state. Throughout the 2014 season we will continue celebrate the "origins of high school lacrosse and the people who made it all happen".
Many thanks to Coaches (Rexford, Flood, Van Hatcher, Scheinin), first officials (Fred Zensen, Kent Roberts, Skylar Goodrick, Paul Gustafson), first commissioner Jim Hammon, and all the parents and supporters...who got it going!!
Dan BaddersPS - If you have old pictures or information to add on past champions, please e-mail our Web Librarian.