New Sport for School
“New Sport for School” was the headline of the story on page 19 of the Democrat & Chronicle that announced that Geneva High School would play their first scholastic game on Wednesday, April 19th, 1922. With that announcement, scholastic lacrosse was underway in Section Five.
Perhaps because of the influence of Hobart College, who was one of early adopters at the collegiate level (1898), the Panthers started playing more than ten years before other high schools would begin in the section. There were attempts by schools in earlier years, including a good attempt by West High School (Rochester) in 1909, but Geneva was the first with a schedule that was completed.
The team did not have to travel far, as the game was played against the freshman team at Hobart.
“Coach Dr. J. B. Covert, who has the youngsters in charge, says that his greatest difficulty in assuring a consistent team lies in the development of attack, for, although there is apparently an abundance of material with which to work, the drilling has shown but small improvement. Still, he is optimistic for the boys are pretty speedy.”Rochester D&C 17 April 1922
Coach Covert had concern for the availability of his goalie, “It is hoped that Frolich, who received a broken nose during the early part of the season, will be able to take part in the game and occupy his old position as goal tender”.
It is unknown whether Frolich played, but the Panthers defeated the Hobart Freshmen, 3-1.
Geneva played a number of games in the first season, including ones against the Syracuse freshmen, Central High School (Syracuse) which ended in a 1-1 tie and the Hobart Freshmen which was won by the Statesmen in the second game (4-0).
Dr. J. Byington Covert
Doctor Jay Byington Covert, sometimes referred to as “the father of Geneva Lacrosse”, was very involved the lacrosse scene in Geneva. He was a graduate of Geneva High School and then attended Hobart, where he took up lacrosse and played in their first game which was a 2-1 win over Cornell. He served as a team captain and the leading scorer before moving on to Columbia University where he continued his stellar career.
After earning his medical degree, Dr. Covert returned to Geneva and served as a coach and as a referee. For many years thereafter he served as the team doctor for both the high school team and for Hobart College.