RMAC adds women’s lacrosse as official sport
The women’s lacrosse team at Colorado Mesa University now feels as if it belongs.
The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference has added women’s lacrosse as an official conference sport, with four Colorado schools, Colorado Mesa, Adams State, Fort Lewis and Regis, and two associate members in Missouri, Lindenwood and Rockhurst.
“I was running around all excited the other day saying that we’re now in the RMAC, and people were asking me, ‘What were you before?’ A lot didn’t know,” CMU women’s coach Abby Simpson said.
“The WILA (Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association) was a great conference, I can’t say anything bad about it, but we’re now competing for something at the end of the year. It’s not just because of your record that you’re in first place. I’m very excited about that, and the girls will be, too.”
The addition of women’s lacrosse brings the total number of conference-sponsored sports to 22. It’s the first sport added to the RMAC since 2008, when men’s and women’s swimming and diving were approved as conference sports.
The RMAC will have a women’s lacrosse championship tournament the first week of May, Simpson said.
Lindenwood, in St. Charles, Mo., just outside of St. Louis, has been in the WILA, so the Colorado teams traveled there each year. Now, they’ll have a second conference game on that road trip, making a stop in Kansas City, Mo., to play Rockhurst.
Lindenwood went 15-2 last season and won the WILA title. Rockhurst is adding women’s lacrosse this year.
Simpson said Colorado State University-Pueblo is considering adding men’s and women’s lacrosse in 2015, which would give the RMAC seven women’s teams and 12 guaranteed games, which will help scheduling.
“Last year we were in Florida for spring break, and this year we’re going to Oregon and Washington for spring break,” Simpson said. “We go all over the place. I can’t say I hate the traveling, it’s always nice to see new places, but if we’re able to add more Colorado schools in the RMAC, it would be nice to see that in the next couple of years. Our travel will go down a little bit.”
The men’s lacrosse team still will play in the WILA — the RMAC requires six schools sponsoring the sport to be eligible for conference status. The men’s WILA has only four schools, CMU and Adams State in Colorado, and Dominican and Notre Dame de Namur in California.
Simpson said being an RMAC sport can only help recruiting.
“When you talk to them they’re like, ‘What’s WILA?’ ” she said. “It’s really exciting to be a part of what everyone else is at the university.”
The RMAC also added California Baptist University as an affiliate member in men’s and women’s swimming and diving.