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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Mar. 14, 2019 5 days ago

Foundation Academy set to introduce new sports next school year

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Boys lacrosse and sand volleyball will be two of the six new sports available to students in 2019-20.
by: Troy Herring Sports Editor

There’s some good news for future and current students at Foundation Academy looking to play sports.

Starting with the 2019-20 school year, Foundation will offer six brand-new sports, including boys and girls swimming, boys and girls weightlifting, boys lacrosse and sand volleyball.

By offering more opportunities for students on the field and in the pool, Athletic Director Lisa Eaves is hoping to continue building the athletic foundation at the school and get students even more involved.

“For our kids who are here, we want to service them,” Eaves said. “I know we have some boys who love lacrosse and they’re playing in club, and there may be some football players who never thought about, ‘Wow, I could play lacrosse.’

“It’s also to draw — we want to draw Christian families who have a heart for Christian education but also love lacrosse and their child would play in a Christian environment,” she said. “We hope that it will just be a boost to our overall program.”

Having boys lacrosse is a game-changing program, Eaves said, and she believes it will play an important role in growing the athletic department. Lacrosse was also the sport that really sparked this desire to offer programs, which actually began when Eaves arrived to the school last June. 

“(We are) just looking ahead and looking at our area, and so it kind of started with the question of, ‘We have to answer the question about lacrosse,’ because that is a question we get asked repeatedly,” Eaves said. “It’s a big deal in this area — club stops at eighth grade. … So kids that come to a school like ours can play up until their eighth-grade year. But then once they get to high school, they’re either looking for another school or they’re not playing sports.”

Eaves also said the school is adding programs that can serve as complements to sports it already offers. The most notable complementary sport is weightlifting. All athletes have to do some sort of weight training to better prepare for their sport, so why not offer it as a team? And with boys weightlifting being a spring sport, it also would allow for fall sports athletes — from sports such as football — to participate.

“(We are) just looking ahead and looking at our area, and so it kind of started with the question of, ‘We have to answer the question about lacrosse,’ because that is a question we get asked repeatedly. It’s a big deal in this area."

— Lisa Eaves

“Weightlifting is only going to help all of our programs and make all of them stronger,” Eaves said. “It complements well with football, basketball and any of that, because for boys, it’s in the spring, so it’s a good complement. It also works with track and field. If you handle your schedules correctly, kids can do track and field and weightlifting at the same time — it really doesn’t rob you of your track kids.”

Although the other sports already have the space to utilize on campus, sports such as boys and girls swimming/diving and sand volleyball will require Eaves and the school to search out facilities to use — something that Eaves said they are in the process of doing now.

Offering these new sports — specifically swimming/diving and sand volleyball — will come with some growing pains, but Eaves said she is confident the school can adapt.

“Swim is an individual sport, so you don’t really need a lot of kids to do it, and actually, we are working on finding facilities to rent,” Eaves said. “But even in starting a swim program, if you have to say, ‘You guys are just going to swim with your club teams, and then we’re going to go put you in some FHSAA high-school meets.’ It’s easy; it works.”

The same can be said about sand volleyball, which requires only two players per unit in a team. Fielding the team won’t be an issue, but there is the matter of finding a place to play.

Regardless, Eaves is excited about being able to offer a sand volleyball team in the second half of the school year to those looking to play beyond the regular volleyball season.

With those sports now set into place, Eaves will begin looking for new coaches to take over and provide strong and influential guidance to the programs.

“We just think it is going to be a win for us and our families, so we are excited about making the step,” Eaves said. 

Troy Herring is the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

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