Augustana University to launch women’s lacrosse team

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When Augustana confirmed reports in June that the school was planning to launch a Division I men’s hockey program, one of the first questions that arose was how she would balance this addition in women’s track and field for comply with Title IX.

The answer came on Tuesday, as the Vikings announced they would add women’s lacrosse in the 2023-24 academic year. The sport will operate at the Division II level and will be the first collegiate lacrosse program in South Dakota.

The women’s lacrosse team will be the Vikings’ 22nd varsity sport and the third team announced since 2020. The Augustana men’s swim and diving team will launch into the pool this season with their first-ever competition scheduled for October 8 . The women’s acrobatics and tumbling program will tackle the mat during the 2022-2023 academic year. In addition, the diving has been added to the women’s swim team, which will be making its first dive this year.

Kelly McPartland of Associated Press Maryland, center, walks down the field as Erica Bodt of Syracuse continues in the first half of Sunday night's NCAA Women's Championship Lacrosse game in Baltimore.

Competition and training venues will be determined at a later date, and the school will soon begin the search for a head coach.

“We are excited to add this dynamic, fast growing sport to Augustana,” said Augustana athletic director Josh Morton. “It’s a natural fit for our campus, our community and our region and, again, we are able to find ways to grow and differentiate ourselves.”

The NCAA has added nine new programs to the Division II level since January 2020. In total, there are currently 114 programs competing at the Division II level through 10 conferences. In all three divisions, there are 524 women’s lacrosse teams.

In terms of preparation, in 2008-09, there were nearly 65,000 girls in lacrosse. Over a 10-year period, it rose to 99,750 girls playing lacrosse, according to the National Federation of High School Associations.

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