What is SRQLAX, Inc.?

SRQLAX.inc (SRQLAX) is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization established in 2013 to facilitate the transition of high school lacrosse from a club sport to a Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) sanctioned sport in Sarasota County public high schools. With the support of the Sarasota County School Board we established boys’ and girls’ varsity lacrosse programs at Riverview High School (RHS) in 2016 and at Venice High School (VHS) in 2018, with the requirement that we fully fund both programs ourselves. We are currently on track to launch boys’ and girls’ varsity lacrosse at Sarasota High School (SHS) in Spring 2020. The SRQLAX Board of Directors represents a cross section of lacrosse coaches, lacrosse parents and community members who believe in making lacrosse a sanctioned varsity sport in Sarasota County.

Where will the FHSAA sanctioned high school teams be and how are they funded?

Through negotiations with the Sarasota County School Board and FHSAA, we were approved to move forward with the first FHSAA sanctioned boys’ and girls’ varsity lacrosse teams at RHS beginning in Spring 2016. Our second program was launched at VHS in Spring 2018 and we have recently been approved to move forward with an FHSAA lacrosse program at SHS in Spring 2020. The agreement provides for a 3-year pilot program at each school, funded entirely by SRQLAX. We are under contract to raise approximately $100,000 per school to fund each program. Lacrosse will be offered as a pay-to-play sport.

What does “Pay to Play” mean?

Those players selected for their school's varsity team will pay a registration fee to play lacrosse. The fee is determined by the actual cost to provide lacrosse as a sanctioned school sport. SRQLAX will cover the majority of the costs, and is continually fundraising and applying for grants to help make the cost to play as reasonable as possible. At this time, registration fees are approximately $395 per player, with scholarships available. No player who makes the team will be turned away due to lack of funds.

Are there boys' and girls' teams?

RHS fields girls’ and boys’ JV and varsity teams. VHS started their inaugural season with boys’ and girls’ varsity teams and added JV teams in 2019. SHS is slated to have boy’s and girls’ varsity teams in Spring 2020. In each case, there are no JV teams the first year; with the potential to add JV teams in following seasons, funded through each school’s lacrosse booster clubs.

When is the lacrosse season?

Lacrosse is a Spring sport. Tryouts are typically held in January and the season officially begins in February. This year, tryouts were held the week of January 28th and the season kicked off the week of February 19th. Games continue through mid-April, with district playoffs the week of April 15th.

What items will be provided to players?

All players will be provided uniforms and helmets and will be required to return them to the school at the end of the season or if they should leave the team for any reason. Goalie gear will be provided for all teams and will include helmet, throat guard, chest protector, goalie sticks, and gloves. Girls’ goalie gear will also include shin guards. Players must wear the issued helmets. They are not allowed to wear any other helmets.

What equipment will players need to provide for themselves?

Girls will need to provide their own complete stick, cleats, and socks. Boys will need to provide their own complete stick, cleats, socks, shoulder pads, gloves, and elbow pads.

What is required in order to try out for lacrosse?

Students must meet all district & school eligibility requirements, complete their school’s athletic packet, and have or purchase the district-required athletic insurance in order to try out for lacrosse. The packets must be submitted prior to participation. Packets can be obtained in the main office or athletic offices of the respective schools, and can also be downloaded from the SRQLAX website. In order to try out for the teams, a student must attend Riverview, Venice or Sarasota High School or be districted for RHS, VHS or SHS. There are exceptions for students who attend “special schools” such as Pine View and Sarasota Suncoast Academy. See explanation below.

Will players be required to be US Lacrosse members?

All players who are selected for varsity teams will be required to hold a valid US Lacrosse membership. The cost is $25 per player payable to US Lacrosse. Memberships are valid for one year.

How is the fundraising effort going?

Riverview and Venice High Schools’ programs are fully funded, with ongoing support from their respective lacrosse booster clubs. At SHS, we have raised over $30,000 through donations from generous donors and sponsors in our communities. The fundraising is going well, but there is still work to do with the balance of $60,000 still to raise and due by June 2020. We have a sporting clays fundraiser scheduled for Oct. 2019, with additional fundraisers and sponsorships available as we move forward.

How can I help?

Thank you for asking! There are many ways you can help. We encourage you to get involved with SRQLAX. It’s a great group, and we are currently seeking new volunteers to act as liaisons and help to establish booster clubs for each school. If you haven’t had a chance to donate to SRQLAX yet, please consider doing so, and if you know of a company or individual who might like to help out with a sponsorship, please help us make that connection. All donations are tax deductible. Contact Rachel Campise at rrustia@hotmail.com for further information or to help out with any of the above. To stay informed, please join our e-mail list and “like” us on Facebook at SRQLAX.

What’s next?

If successful, we will look to roll out FHSAA sanctioned varsity lacrosse programs at the remaining Sarasota County public high schools in coming years as interest and support dictates. Ultimately we would like to have a sanctioned varsity lacrosse program in all of the Sarasota County high schools.

What about the players who are not districted for Riverview, Venice or Sarasota High School?

Players who do not live in these school districts will be able to play lacrosse on local club teams until such time as their districted schools adopt a varsity lacrosse program. Players at “special schools” in the county (such as Pine View School and Sarasota Suncoast Academy) may play on the teams if they live within district, or they may apply for Riverview High School, Venice High School or Sarasota High School as their school of athletic choice through the Sarasota County Schools Office of School Choice. The window for athletic choice typically opens in the spring for play the following year. Please check the Sarasota County School District website for deadlines and dates.

What kinds of lacrosse programs currently exist in the area?

Riverview High School and Venice High School are the only Sarasota County public high schools with varsity lacrosse programs at this time. Cardinal Mooney High School and Out of Door Academy are private schools in Sarasota that currently have sanctioned varsity lacrosse programs, as does Sarasota Military Academy, a charter school in Sarasota County. In Manatee County, St. Stephens Episcopal School has a sanctioned lacrosse program and Lakewood Ranch High School and Manatee High School started new FHSAA varsity lacrosse programs in 2018. There are three club programs, True Lacrosse, which can be contacted at monsterslax.com or mcassalia@truelacrosse.com, the Sarasota Seahawks at seahawkslacrosse.com, and Ripcurl Lacrosse, a AAA girls lacrosse program, at ripcurllacrosse.org.