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Midwestern Liberal Arts Schools Use Lacrosse to Recapture Suburban Students

Ten years ago, if you were a Chicago-area high school student who wanted to play lacrosse in college, a couple of things were true about you. You were likely white, from a well-educated and wealthy household, fairly uncommon (only 7,085 high school boys and 3,420 high school girls played the sport in the 12-state Midwest region in 2001), and going East for college, since the East is where college lacrosse programs were.

Nowadays, the first two are still largely true. The latter two are not. The sport’s popularity has boomed in the region, particularly in the suburbs of Chicago and the Twin Cities, and Midwestern colleges have rapidly added programs to try to keep pace. Since 2010, 17 private colleges in the Midwest have added Division III men’s lacrosse programs and 16 have added women’s programs. The growth is particularly notable because many colleges have been eliminating some sports programs during the same time period.

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