Grand Rapids, MN ( --- The Minnesota State High School League started sanctioning lacrosse in 2007. But now six years later, still no schools in our area have elevated above the club level. While there are fewer teams in the Minnesota Boys Scholastic Lacrosse Association, that doesn't mean the teams are any slower. Lacrosse has been played around the Northland for just over a decade now, and it continues to grow. "We've had growth in our league," said Grand Rapids Head Coach Brad Gallop. "We've had growth obviously in our city and our surrounding cities." Duluth Chargers Head Coach Scott Wishart agrees. "Duluth is exploding and Northland teams are as well such as Grand Rapids, and Brainerd areas are getting a lot bigger too," Wishart said. It's a sport that mixes together several different sports. "This is a cross between basketball, hockey, football so we get a lot of the cross–sport players that are coming," Gallop said. "You get a lot of running; it's fast–paced, high intensity, and a lot of movement," Wishart said. "You get a lot of different types of athletes involved so there's really a spot for everyone on the field." Even though its popularity continues to rise, lacrosse is only a club sport for teams in Northern Minnesota, something that may change in the next few years. "I think a varsity sport in the Duluth area is inevitable in the near future. Tough to tell how long," Wishart said. In the meantime, teams are stuck paying for a lot more, including for field space and transportation to and from matches. Being a sanctioned sport would also allow athletes a chance to represent their school. "It's something to be proud of. It's a sense of pride they can have playing for the high school they go to," WIshart said. Sanctioned or not, it's not something the guys worry about. "I think that's the last thing on our mind when we're out here," said Duluth East senior Beau Hughes. "We're trying to win games and have fun. Posted by Sarah Wheeler