Augustana University to add women’s lacrosse to varsity sports

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 10:49 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Augustana University will be adding a women’s lacrosse team in 2023, the first collegiate lacrosse program in the state of South Dakota.

It’s the latest part of the University’s “Viking bold: the Journey to 2030” strategic plan.

One of the University’s goals with adding more sports is gender equity and giving women more chances to compete. In the last few, expansion included women’s swimming and diving along with acrobatics and tumbling.

“I think this was a combination of looking for different opportunities for women to be a part of varsity sports, but also if you look at the sport of lacrosse you see it kind of start on the west and east coast and for us, in the middle of the country it’s coming,” said Josh Morton, Augustana University Athletic Director.

According to the National Federation of High School Associations, women’s lacrosse has grown by over 30,000 players at the prep level in the last 10 years, reaching nearly 100,000 players. Augustana is looking to capitalize on the growing sport.

“For us, it’s always about differentiating Augustana, were the first to do it and that means something to us because we’re the pioneers and I think that there will be others that follow because of the popularity of the sport nationwide, it’s coming to our part of the world too,” said Morton.

Lacrosse will be the 22nd athletic program for Augustana University.

“I think it’s exciting because it brings in more athletes in general and just more people to interact with and more people to connect with on-campus and just bring outside perspective as well,” said Kelli Glisar, an Augustana University student.

“That’s pretty cool to be the only one in the state to have that team and I’m hoping that we’ll be competitive enough to compete at the highest levels, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what that team can do, and to represent not only Augustana but the whole state,” said Leona Coha, an Augustana University student.

According to the NCAA, there are currently 114 programs competing at the Division II level.

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