by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Barton College will add men’s lacrosse as an intercollegiate sport beginning with the 2018-19 season, school officials announced Wednesday.
The addition will increase the number of sports offered by Barton to 22 and the number of student-athletes on campus to nearly 350.
“Barton College is looking forward to the addition of men’s lacrosse,” said Todd Wilkinson, Barton’s director of athletics. “Men’s lacrosse will support the institution’s enrollment initiatives and Barton’s desire to grow in the coming years.”
The addition of men’s lacrosse continues a rapid expansion of Barton’s’ athletic offerings that began this year with the school’s first competition in women’s lacrosse, men’s swimming and women’s swimming.
“Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the nation, and men’s lacrosse is a natural addition to the Barton sports program as Conference Carolinas already fields eight teams,” Wilkinson said. “We expect this addition to also bring Barton some excellent student-athletes, expand our recruiting footprint and provide an exciting game for spectators.”
In joining the Conference Carolinas fray, Barton will be playing catch-up to some outstanding programs, led by Limestone College, which won back-to-back NCAA Division II national titles in 2014 and 2015 and finished as national runners-up in 2012 and 2016. University of Mount Olive also reached the NCAA tournament last season.
To prepare for that challenge, Barton will give its new coach a year to build the program before actually beginning competition in the spring of 2019.
“The search for a head coach will begin immediately, with the hiring date allowing the opportunity for the recruitment of a team during the 2017-18 academic year,” Wilkinson said.