The new Winona Raptors lacrosse team plays host to Hudson JV today at Paul Giel Field. The Raptors are a club team and they are not a school-sponsored sport at this time. The team is made up of about half Winona High and half Cotter athletes and they will play a 12-game schedule against junior varsity level competition.
There is no immediate plan to make it a school sponsored sport in the next year or two but they will probably take a look at the possibility of making it a school sport in the future. Winona High athletic director Brad Berzinski says one of the big issues that could come up with adding lacrosse as a school program is the financial aspect. The travel budget would be very large because most of the schools that have lacrosse are located in the Twin Cities. Right now the four Rochester schools have combined for two teams and Owatonna has a team but those are the only Big Nine Conference schools that field school sponsored lacrosse teams. Mankato has a club team similar to Winona. Berzinski is also concerned that adding another sport could dilute the pool of players for the other spring sports. Finding qualified coaches and qualified referees can be difficult because it’s not a mainstream sport. The coach of the Raptors this year is Jack Keilty, a current Winona State student.
The Raptors won their first game 11-0 against the Mankato J.V. They have just two home games left after tonight’s matchup against Hudson which starts at 6:30.