Girls flag football likely coming to CHS, Webb
by Andrew Alonzo | firstname.lastname@example.org
In early February, the California Interscholastic Federation’s State Federated Council voted unanimously to add girls seven-on-seven flag football to the list of state approved sports.
The move paves the way for female athletes across the state to have their fill of fall football at the high school level, effective the 2023-2024 school year, including at Claremont High and The Webb Schools.
The Wolfpack’s athletic director Mike Collins said there seems to be a general interest.
“We haven’t moved forward yet with establishing a coaching staff, etcetera, but that is definitely something that will be addressed pretty soon,” Collins said. “We definitely want to have girls flag football. We think it’s going to be a very exciting thing for all involved.”
Steven Wishek, athletic director at The Webb Schools, said program development was in the early stages.
“Some of the girls have expressed interested, ” Wishek said. “We’re still in the exploratory stages of finding out how much student interest there is. In addition to that we have to the weigh the impact to our other programs if we add it … since we’re so small, only with 400 students.
“It’s really just a question of, how do we make sure we don’t cannibalize our other programs that we’re already offering?” Wishek added. “It’s early and we’re definitely interested in having a conversation. I don’t know how likely it is for this fall, but it’s definitely something that’s on the radar. Especially as more and more schools do it, it’s easier and easier for us to do it.”
Neither San Joaquin or Palomares leagues will offer the program next season.
Some schools already offer girls flag football, including Sierra Vista in Baldwin Park, whose team was formed in 2021, according to athletic director Robyn Reclusado-Garcia.
The team didn’t need a league in which to play, simply competition, which it has gotten from Orange County schools the last two seasons. Although the Dons typically travel, Reclusado-Garcia said the girls have fun utilizing a great outlet to play a familiar sport.
One of the key figures in getting the CIF to sanction girls flag football as a sport, Reclusado-Garcia is excited for more programs to get started in the coming years, and knows of about six schools in the San Gabriel Valley area who’ve expressed interest.
“My guess is in three years we’ll probably have at least 20,” Reclusado-Garcia said.
New teams will have to invest in transportation, coaches, uniforms, equipment and facilities to get off the ground, Reclusado-Garcia said, but can utilize their football stadiums and fields as game and practice grounds.
Before the recent move, many girls played in local leagues such as the National Football League’s girls FLAG league, which has about 16 teams running along the 10 and 210 Freeway corridors from Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, and the Rams-Chargers sponsored Los Angeles League of Champions Girls Flag Football program. The closest team to Claremont is the NFL Flag Inland Empire team, based in Upland.
The journey to get girls flag football to this point has taken nearly two years, said CIF Assistant Commissioner Thom Simmons.
“It was brought back for a first read in October and passed at the Southern Section level for a fall sport in 2023 in January,” Simmons said. “Then it went to the state in February for their approval and the State Federated Council approved it February to put it on the list of state approved sports.”
Girls flag football under CIF watch will mirror rules based in the official National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association rule book. An early rule set can be viewed at cifss.org.
Simmons said there’s not much left in the way of hurdles at the state or Southern Section levels.
“It’s just a question of how many different games will be played, what nights they’ll be played on. Just the devils and the details,” Simmons said. “Once we have all of that figured out then our schools can start to schedule [games and practices].”