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Army adds women's lacrosse to varsity lineup

WEST POINT – Army announced it will add women's lacrosse to its NCAA athletics lineup beginning with the 2015-16 season.

Athletic director Boo Corrigan, along with the West Point leadership team, approved the addition, which currently sponsors 25 Division I intercollegiate sports.

The Black Knights’ women’s team will become the 10th member of the Patriot League, which currently includes American, Boston University, Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh, Loyola and Navy. Women’s lacrosse has been a club team since its inception in 1979.

Club head coach John Pellino, now in his fifth season, has led Army to four consecutive winning seasons and has taken the team to the New England Women's Lacrosse League playoffs each year.

According to the NCAA's 2012-13 participation report, lacrosse is the fastest growing collegiate sport. Twenty-six men's programs and 40 women's were added across Divisions I, II and III.

"We are thrilled to announce today the addition of women's lacrosse as a Division I sport. We believe the sport speaks directly to the warrior ethos that is one of the bedrocks upon which West Point is built," Army athletic director Boo Corrigan said. "We are fortunate to attract the best and brightest here at West Point and we could not be more excited to provide another avenue, through women's lacrosse, to fulfill our mission in developing leaders of character.

"This addition makes sense for us," he added. "The academy has supported women's lacrosse at the club level for many years and has had great success. We look forward to continuing that tradition through the Division I platform in the Patriot League, which has proven to be one of the top lacrosse conferences in the country. We look to be successful on the lacrosse field and in the development of women officers in the U.S. Army."

Army graduated its first class to include women in 1980. The Class of 2017, the most recently accepted, is made up of approximately 16 percent women.

"I'm proud to support the elevation of women's lacrosse to Division I status," academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr. said. “It is a great addition to our robust varsity sports programs where the history of women's athletics at West Point has been one of excellence."

On the women's side, Army currently sponsors basketball, cross country, swimming and diving, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field and volleyball. The men's teams include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, gymnastics, hockey, lacrosse, rifle, sprint football, swimming and diving, soccer, tennis, track and field and wrestling. Rifle competes as Army's only co-ed sport.

Army's most recent Division I intercollegiate sport added was women's soccer in 1986.

Club head coach John Pellino, now in his fifth season, has led Army to four consecutive winning seasons and has taken the team to the New England Women's Lacrosse League playoffs each year.