Participation numbers see some programs in jeopardy

The participation numbers for winter sports are in, and there are some programs in jeopardy.

The Warren County School District personnel, athletics, and co-curricular activities committee heard the update this week from Supervisor of District-wide Athletics Rick Gignac.

Programs that are short of the district minimum include junior high wrestling at Youngsville and Sheffield, and the district-wide swimming and diving team.

Gignac explained that the first step for programs that fall below the required number is a year of probation.

After that, the district could recommend to the board that the program be eliminated. Or, depending on some other considerations, maybe not.

In the case of junior high wrestling, the numbers, particularly at Youngsville, are well below the requirement.

Both the third- and tenth-day numbers showed there were four junior high wrestlers at Youngsville and seven at Sheffield. The minimum is 10.

“We’ve had low numbers at the junior high level for quite a few years,” Gignac said. “There’s not a lot of extra money that goes with it. They end up piggybacking (on the varsity program).”

The varsity team is already traveling, so the junior high wrestlers travel with them and compete. There is no need to combine the program with another school’s and little cost to keeping it and continuing to offer the opportunities.

For swimming, however, the situation is different, Gignac said.

The district does not have a pool and has had a rental agreement with the Warren County YMCA to provide its venue. “We do have to pay a significant cost for that swim team,” Gary Weber said. “That is a consideration as well.”

The board expressed concerns that, if the program is cut, students will lose opportunity.

There is no consolidation option for the program, it is already district-wide. Gignac said there is not a local, independent competitive swimming option for students at the high school level.

The good news is that the program is not far below the district’s minimum.

There were 11 boys and 16 girls on the team on the third and tenth days. The minimum total is 30.

“We’re a little bit lower than we normally are, but we are not drastically low,” Gignac said.

The only other programs that are right up against the minimums are junior high cheerleading and junior high wrestling at Eisenhower are each one over the limit at nine and 11, respectively.