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Boulder High School added field hockey for the fall season, carving new ground for the girls’ sport, both inside Boulder Valley School District and the state of Colorado.

The new program, which is a BVSD team that started official practice Monday, is No. 16 under the umbrella of the state’s athletic governing body, the Colorado High School Activities Association. It also marks the association’s first team out of the Boulder area.

“It just exploded with interest,” said Boulder athletic director Ryan Bishop, who beamed with excitement as low numbers early in registration grew to somewhere around 45 players. “It feels good to be able to offer it.”

The Panthers’ second-year AD said the idea of adding the sport was captained by a group of parents about a year ago. Shown to district officials was the game’s growth inside the local community (mostly in the club ranks). Interest was enough for BVSD to add it for the 2022-24 school cycle.

Among steps taken by the school and district to build the program, gear was collected in part by donations from different organizations and other school districts. A head coach was hired in Allyson Mullen, a decorated high school and college player from out East, who Bishop said has a background in coaching.

The Panthers join in on a sport that has been part of the Olympic Summer Games since 1908, though has yet to catch on fully in popularity inside the United States, especially further out from the East Coast. Offered by CHSAA since 1997, it has been dominated by Denver-based private schools. Kent Denver leads the way with 10 state titles, Colorado Academy has six and Regis Jesuit has won three out of the last four years.

Boulder’s first game of the season is in Colorado Springs Aug. 24 against Liberty High School.

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