Archive for Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Board contemplates girls soccer team at THS

Track coaches voice concern about school district adding a fourth spring athletics program

February 15, 2006

Although the Tonganoxie school board on Monday took no action on starting a girls soccer program, two track coaches were on hand to express their concerns about the initiative.

Track coach Chris Weller noted Tonganoxie currently offers three spring sports: track, softball and golf.

"If you add a fourth event, you're going to start to deplete probably the most stable program you have here, and that's track," Weller said.

While Weller said he wasn't interested in cutting down the sport of soccer, he said he currently must recruit students for his team. And that would only increase if soccer were added to the mix.

"I can almost guarantee you that you will kill the track program," he said.

And coach Phil Williams said adding soccer would dilute the pool of talented athletes.

"It's a matter of having a few things you do well or a whole bunch of things you want to do average," he said.

Tonganoxie's soccer coach, Kenneth Lott, said he's held several meetings to help gauge the interest in starting a girls soccer team.

"The interest was overwhelming," he said. "I had some girls who wanted to play, but at the same time, they wanted to play softball. I didn't pressure them either way."

If the district were to start a girls soccer program, the first-year costs would total an estimated $21,000, if 40 girls went out for the team, Lott said. Subsequent years would cost about $13,400, he said.

Lott said he hopes spring 2007 would be the inaugural season for girls soccer at Tonganoxie. If the board agrees in the future to establish a girls program, no girls could play during the boys soccer season, which is held in the fall. Nine girls played with the THS boys team last fall, Lott said.

Leana Leslie, board president, said she's heard from several parents whose interest in a girls program is intense.

"I know it's definitely out there," she said of the interest.

Charleen Koschke told the board that her daughter, Lana Dominguez, an eight-grader, has a strong interest in playing soccer on a girls team.

"She wants to go to college, and at this point, she's looking forward to playing. ... And I think she's not alone," Koschke said.

Board member Ron Moore said while he understands the track coaches' concerns, any decisions about which sports to play would have to be made by students and their parents.

And board member Kay Smith said she wanted to ensure the district has a written policy on students playing two sports during the same season.

The board is expected to take action on the proposal at its March 13 meeting.

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