Lancaster approves addition of girls flag football, unified bowling
The athletics program in the Lancaster Central School District is expanding, with new teams set to debut in unified bowling and girls flag football in the 2023-24 school year.
Eric Rupp, Athletic Director, said he was “thankful and excited” to add the new teams. The additions were made as part of the 2023-24 budget approved by district residents on May 16.
“The addition of these two sports provides further opportunities for Lancaster students to participate in the athletic experience,” Rupp said.
Unified bowling combines athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to make teams for training and competition. Lancaster already has fielded a team in unified basketball, which Rupp said has 30 student-athletes participating, and that success encouraged the district to expand to bowling.
“Unified sports offer an incredible opportunity for everybody involved, from the student-athletes, the parents, the coaches and anyone who attends the game,” Rupp said. “You always see people walking out with a giant smile on their face. “
The new girls flag football team comes as interest in the sport has boomed in the region. The sport has grown in western New York from 12 teams in 2022 to 27 teams in 2023, and Section VI will be holding its first championship for the sport in June. Rupp, who also coaches the district’s varsity football team, said he recently took his eight-year-old daughter to see a game in the area, and could see the excitement in her eyes.
“It's something that's been in the works for a couple years now, and we're grateful to bring it to Lancaster,” he said.
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced earlier this spring that flag football will become a state championship sport for the spring 2024 season.
The two new additions join the dozens of squads that Lancaster fields each year at the varsity, junior varsity and modified level.
“Lancaster is a very passionate community, particularly when it comes to athletics, and we're blessed to have great community support, participation numbers and coaches,” Rupp said. “It contributes to the whole academic experience.”
More information about the district’s athletic programs can be found at https://www.lancasterschools.org/athletics.