The Canal Winchester school board added lacrosse as an Ohio High School Athletic Association-sponsored sport at the middle school level Feb. 10, increasing the sport’s growth one year after the high school fielded a club team for the first time.

The board unanimously approved the move by a 5-0 vote.

More than 100 players in the area participate in the sport through the Canal Winchester Lacrosse Association, according to CWLA president Victor Paini.

“We’re thrilled that the school board recognized what we’ve seen over the last two plus years — that Canal Winchester kids love lacrosse,” Paini said in a statement. “When we started we had dreams, but now we have recognition and a road map to grow the program even further as it becomes an official Indians sport. …

“I’m proud that this has been a community effort and I’m looking forward to seeing this program grow over the coming decade.”

The high school club team had 28 players last year, but half of them attended Grove City and were members of the Grove City Lacrosse Club. The CWLA and GCLC had a one-year arrangement to field one larger team.

Lacrosse became an OHSAA-sanctioned sport in 2016. There currently are 145 boys and 131 girls high school teams across the state.