The Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) is asking for athletic directors and principals across the state to vote on the option of sanctioning boy’s and girl’s lacrosse. In their 2017-18 triennial survey last year 30 schools voted yes to sanctioning boy’s lacrosse and 32 schools voted yes to sanctioning girl’s lacrosse, but the result wasn’t enough for the KHSAA to sanction the sport.
While the KHSAA’s next triennial survey isn’t until 2020-2021, the Commissioner and Board of Control has received enough interest to conduct a survey in the interim. Schools have until September 17th to submit their answers to the KHSAA. The vote has to come out in favor of sanctioning the sport, so like usual the fate is in the hands of the athletic directors and principals of schools under the KHSAA.
This decision by the KHSAA comes nearly a year after the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association started their process which ended with lacrosse being voted in as a sanctioned sport. High School lacrosse in Tennessee will begin their first year as a sanctioned sport in 2021.
If the KHSAA’s survey comes back positive, Kentucky would become the 24th state in the country to sanction the sport and join Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina as the southern states that sanction the sport.
At the moment, Kentucky has 35 boy’s high school lacrosse teams and 30 girl’s high school teams. The 2020 season will see DeSales field a boy’s team for the first time and possibly St. Henry field their first boy’s and girl’s teams.
Just like the rest of the country, many fans, players, and coaches got to know some of these top 2021’s in Kentucky for the first time during the 2019 high school season. This 2021 class in Kentucky may be the best class the state has ever seen with the depth of skill and talent that has already been shown.
Here are some of the top 2021’s that broke on to the scene during the 2019 high school season.
Gavin Noland, Attack, Trinity
The 5-foot-11 attackman was a big piece of the Shamrocks offense this past spring, helping to lead them to a 15-6 record with wins over programs such as Moeller (Ohio), Cincinnati St. Xavier (Ohio), and others.
Noland draws immediate comparisons to Redwoods attackman Clarke Petterson with his ability to be an off-ball finisher and Chrome midfielder Romar Dennis with his dodging ability and speed. While Noland is more of an off-ball finisher, cutting and finishing inside, he can also take his man one-on-one from the wing and behind the cage.
In addition to his finishing ability, Noland has a very good stick, throwing crisp passes. He can also shoot very well and can put the ball in the back of the net from almost anywhere on the field. Noland is easily in the conversation for being the best player in the state and has all the tools to succeed at the next level.
Hillis Burns, Attack, St. Xavier
As more of your traditional ‘X’ attackman, Burns can get it done in multiple ways and almost always seems to be in the right spot. He helped lead the Tigers to a KSLL championship this past season while being a focal point of their offense.
Standing 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Burns can catch fire very easily with his scoring ability. However, he may be a better feeder as he is able to find the open guy when dodging from behind the cage or on the wings. He also has some Rob Pannell-esque plays in his bag that can throw any defender off.
Burns also has a high lacrosse IQ, giving him the ability to make smart plays all over the field. Burns also uses his speed and quickness to his advantage, getting open and beating his man. He is another player that is in the conversation for being the best player in the state, having an unbelievable skill set.
Ben Hubbs, Attack, St. Xavier
The attackman was another crucial part of St. Xavier’s KSLL championship run, being one of their primary goal scorers. Hubbs is a shooter and when he gets hot it elevates the play of everyone around him.
Hubbs honestly could play attack or midfield with his shooting ability. He is amore of a catch and shoot guy, but is very effective and can seemingly put the ball in the back of the net from anywhere. He is a great finisher inside, being able to find holes in the defense and camp out on the crease.
As an outside shooter Hubbs can crank it all day long, drawing comparisons to Duke midfielder Nakeie Montgomery. While Hubbs is more of a shooter he can be a great feeder as well, finding guys open in space and making smart passes as well. In addition, he may not be the best the strongest dodger, but can use his quickness and finesse to shake defenders and get his hands free.
Colten Reynolds, Attack, Henry Clay
Reynolds is a pure scorer, tallying 97 points (61G,36A) to help the Blue Devils win the CLL championship this past season. The attackman is a key piece of the the Henry Clay offense, really being a catalyst for them.
Because of his versatility Reynolds draws comparisons to Archers midfielder Austin Sims. Reynolds can get it done from multiple spots on the field as a shooter, dodger, and feeder. Reynolds is very good at beating his man and getting to the cage from the wings or behind the cage.
He is also able to use his speed to shake it man from up top as well. As a shooter he can rip it from outside and also finish inside. While his dodging and shooting ability are more marquee parts of his game, Reynolds is also a great feeder, being able to find the open man and throw crisp passes.
Triston Schaffer, Attack, Lexington Catholic
Schaffer has been one of the standouts on the offensive side of the ball for the Knights. He helped lead Lexington Catholic to a CLL championship game appearance, tallying 82 points (49G,33A).
With the skill set to play both attack and midfielder Schaffer can get it done multiple places on the field. One of his best attributes his IQ and ability to be a great off-ball finisher, always being in the right place and cutting off ball with efficiency.
As a shooter he can rip it from outside as well. Schaffer has a sharp stick which allows him to be able to become a feeder when needed as well. While his one on one dodging may not be the best, he can certainly be a threat as a dodger when he wants to from behind the cage and on the wings.
Daniel Diaz, Goalie, South Warren
The 6-foot-4 goalie stands tall in cage, making 131 saves off of 218 shots on goals while helping to lead the Spartans to the CLL semifinals.
Stone Wilmes, Defense, Trinity
As one of the youngest defenseman in the state this past season, Wilmes really stepped up late in the season for the Shamrocks. He can be a good cover man and can also slide and recover very well. He also has the ability to possibly play as an LSM.
Presley Richmond, Attack, Henry Clay
Tallying 67 points (57G,10A) to help lead the Blue Devils to a CLL championship, Richmond is an electrifying player. He can be a feeder or a shooter with his impressive skill set, and could also play as a midfielder as well.
Nic Baker, Midfield, Tates Creek
Baker is a very versatile player who has the skill set and athleticism to play multiple positions on the field. In 2019 Baker tallied 102 points (71G,31A). He is more of a shooter but can be a threat as a dodger and feeder as well.