Lara Glasser of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK and teammate Gabriela Weinstein...

Lara Glasser of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK and teammate Gabriela Weinstein make a 360-degree video during the a high school girls flag football media day at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. Credit: Ed Murray

Girls flag football continues to boom across Long Island.

Thursday marked the latest moment of growth for the sport.

Ahead of flag football’s third season as a high school sport on the Island, a total of nine teams from both Nassau and Suffolk County attended the first high school flag football media day hosted by the Jets at MetLife Stadium. Over 60 high schools representing eight conferences from New York and New Jersey were invited.

“It’s so cool,” Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK senior center/edge rusher Gabriela Weinstein said. “When [Plainview-Old Bethpage coach] Alec [Abramowitz] asked me, ‘Hey, they’re doing this thing.’ I’m like, ‘OK, it’s just gonna be like pictures or whatever.’ But seeing it, it’s a bit intense but also really cool at the same time.”

All attending players and coaches were interviewed by SNY anchor and reporter Jeané Coakley and heard from Nausicaa Dell'Orto, captain of the Italian women’s national flag football team, about her experience. Players also went to media stations to get pictures and 360-degree videos taken of them.

Plainview-Old Bethpage – entering its third season as a program – went 18-0 in 2023, capping off its perfect season with a 27-7 win over Section IX’s Warwick Valley in the regional championship at the Jets training facility in Florham Park, New Jersey.

“They bought into it because the season’s so much longer when you win,” said Abramowitz, the 2023 Newsday Coach of the Year. “[Last season] was just overall a great experience with the girls, they were so happy about it.”

The NYSPHSAA will host the first flag football state championships in Cortland from June 1-2, a monumental step for the sport.

“We’re definitely hoping to reach [the state title] because we didn’t lose a game last year,” Plainview-Old Bethpage junior wideout/cornerback Lara Glasser said. “So we’re hoping to advance to the next level and see how the competition is at higher levels.”

Laura Glasser of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK speaks to the media...

Laura Glasser of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK speaks to the media during the New York Jets high school girls flag football media day at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, Thursday,Feb. 22, 2024 Credit: Ed Murray

The Hawks also return Newsday All-Long Island wide receiver/defensive back Rachel Ganz, who had 31 catches for 641 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.

Patchogue-Medford, also represented at MetLife Thursday, enters the spring with high hopes after a 10-1-3 season last year. The Raiders return all their starters from their inaugural 2023 campaign, which ended in the county championship game against Half Hollow Hills.

“This is fantastic,” Raiders coach Brad Weinman said. “It’s a great idea for the teams, good idea for the girls just to get a feel for what pro life is almost about.”

Patchogue-Medford’s program did not exist until a few weeks before the 2023 season started, but immediate interest ensued. Sixty-eight girls signed up for the team in the first meeting last year, a sign for the development of Patchogue-Medford’s junior varsity team, which will play for the first time this season.

“Only seven play on the field, so there’s gonna be a large drop-off, and you hate to do that to anybody,” Weinman said. “The sport itself is great for schools because it doesn’t cost a whole lot, so you can be able to sanction a JV team.”

Longwood, Sachem North, Division, Herricks, MacArthur, Hauppauge and Whitman also represented Thursday.

Said Glasser: “It’s a really cool experience to have our team showcased in the promotion of flag football in the tri-state area. It’s really special.”

 
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