WACO may revive some varsity sports
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
WAYLAND — Recently WACO Athletic Director was reviewing the athletic year and realized the school district only offers four boys’ and a similar number of girls’ varsity sports.
The district may be offering more sports…soon.
Largely due to the switch to the 4 + 1 school calendar next week and not because of a dramatic increase in numbers, WACO may have no choice in offering more sports. The school board, during its regular meeting Monday night, was sympathetic to the dilemma, and asked Edeker to poll students for interest and report back.
Currently, WACO shares girls’ and boys’ cross-country, girls’ and boys’ golf, girls’ and boys’ soccer and baseball with the Washington Community School District.
Next year, however, WACO will be having classes on Monday-Thursday until 4 p.m. which will put a large crimp in the sharing arrangement due to the inability of WACO athletes to attend practices in Washington, Edeker related.
“We are going to get out of school at 4 p.m. next year and Washington starts its cross-country practice at 3:30 p.m.,” the athletic director said. “Our kids wouldn’t get there (Washington) until 4:30 p.m. and by that time we would be done. I talked to Steve Roth (Washington cross-country coach) and he was nice about it but said he couldn’t move practice (time) back because he would lose kids…We would run into the same problem in golf that we do with cross-country.”
Edeker said he has talked to the WACO Athletic Booster Club and the group would be willing to help with start-up costs of re-instituting the sports currently shared with Washington.
Another problem is WACO’s financial crunch and none of the sports currently shared are revenue-producing sports. “In softball last year, we had one $220 gate and the rest of the gates were under $200. We have to pay officials (umpires) $100 per game and softball and baseball has two umpires so that is $200 in expenses per game,” Edeker said.
The athletic director estimated that it would cost the district roughly $22,000 to offer the sports again. The figure includes coaches, transportation, equipment and officials/entry fees.
Cross-country would be the least expensive ($5,400) to re-institute because the only costs would be for coaches, entry fees and transportation since all meets would be away. It also would be the easiest to schedule.
He said that if he were to prioritize the re-institution of the sports, cross-country would be first followed by baseball. “I am not trying to cut golf out, but I don’t know how many kids we would get to golf,” he noted. This past year, one WACO girl participated on the Washington squad.
“I am interested in it (offering the sports again),” Tim Graber, board president, said. “We keep sharing more and more things and I hear (from patrons) that by doing that we are encouraging them to compete at another school and possibly open enroll there. If we lost two kids to open enrollment, that is $12,400.”
This year’s WACO Babe Ruth baseball team (boys 13-15 years of age are eligible to play) has 13 boys, Edeker said. He said if the school were to offer the sport again, he would recommend starting with a junior-varsity schedule. There are two WACO students playing on the Washington High School baseball team this year.
Once a sport is lost, it is difficult getting it back, Edeker admitted. “It is difficult to bring a sport back because kids lose interest in the sports if it is not offered (in high school).”
He also added that the number of athletes participating in a shared program is not an accurate barometer of interest. “The numbers go down when you share. If it is not convenient, students won’t do it. They don’t want it to be a lot of work to play. Kids who have gone to school here all their life want to wear a WACO jersey.”
Scheduling could present some problems, the athletic director said. “The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to find games. We have scheduled wrestling and volleyball through the 2015-16 season.”
No timetable was set for offering the sports again, if the board so chooses, but it is possible that cross-country could be offered again next fall since it would pose the fewest problems to re-institute.
Edeker said he would poll the students regarding interest in the sports. “I thought about doing it last week, but then decided to check with you first. I don’t see how we can share cross-country next fall. If we have the sport, we will have to do it ourselves.”
In personnel matters, the board accepted the resignations of Ranee Reschly, superintendent’s secretary; Jerry Imhoff, custodian; Angie Rodgers, high school special-education instructor; Brandt Snakenberg, elementary principal; Hanna McDowell, elementary instructor; and Renea Reichenbach, high school student council sponsor.
Contracts were approved for Drew Ayrit, secondary science; Alyssa McClain, secondary science; Jay Coble, head volleyball coach; Carrie Coble, assistant volleyball coach; Brad Shettler, junior high volleyball coach; and Gwen DeVaul, assistant junior high volleyball coach.
Directors approved the purchase of a lawn mower from Brad Roth, Wayland, at a cost of $5,500. Three other bids were received, ranging upward to $6,699.99.
Nolte, Cornman and Johnson P.C., received the auditor’s bid at a cost of $5,800, $6,100 and $6,400 for the next three fiscal years. Two other firms submitted bids. The high bid was $6,500, $6,800 and $7,200 for the three fiscal years, beginning with 2013.
WACO directors meet again in regular session Monday, June 17, at 6:30 p.m.