High school lacrosse is in its fourth decade of play in Washington state with organized prep games taking place as early as 1979. With consistent double-digit annual growth throughout the past decade, today over 4,000 students attending 200 WIAA member schools in eastern and western Washington play prep lacrosse. However, despite growing demand and both the youth, middle school and high school levels, lacrosse is still not sanctioned in Washington state. Currently 21 US state scholastic activities associations sanction lacrosse.
Boys lacrosse began play in Washington in 1979 with a group of Lakeside School students. In 1980, Bellevue High School formed a team. Bellevue and Lakeside were joined the following year by two clubs representing Seattle high schools before Bainbridge High, Overlake School and another Seattle club joined the mix at the end of the decade. The sport saw steady growth in the 1990s with expansion to several individual Seattle schools, the eastside, Tacoma, Kitsap Peninsula and Burien schools. In the 2000s, lacrosse continued its growth into the Edmonds, Everett, Vancouver areas and Eastern Washington. In 2012, an unprecedented six new boys high school teams began play in Washington state including Spokane teams at Gonzaga Prep, Ferris-Lewis & Clark High Schools, University-Central Valley High Schools and Mt. Spokane-Mead High Schools along with Vancouver, Washington programs at Camas High School and Union High School.
Girls lacrosse began play in 1992 with the Lakeside School, Bellevue and Bainbridge High Schools and a Seattle area club inaugurating competition. Overlake joined the group in 1993, followed by Forest Ridge the following year and Holy Names, Vashon, North Kitsap, Lake Washington and Mercer Island by the end of the decade. In the 2000s, the popularity of the girls game enabled new teams to begin play in Tacoma, East Pierce County, Auburn, Edmonds, Vancouver and Eastern Washington. In 2012, along with six new boys teams, the girls program at Peninsula-Gig Harbor High Schools was elevated to the varsity level.