School Board Hears Wrestling Request
Members of the Emmetsburg Community Schools Board of Education were approached with a request from a parent regarding participation of Middle School youth in wrestling practices at the high school during their regular meeting held Jan. 23, at the high school library.
Todd Lundgren, who has a son wrestling in the Little E’Hawk Wrestling Program, handed out copies of the Lakes Conference guidelines and explained that his purpose in attending the meeting was to ask that Middle School wrestlers be allowed the option to participate in high school wrestling practices.
“Supposedly, there’s some Lakes Conference rule that says that Middle School wrestlers can’t practice during the season between basketball and wrestling. I don’t see that it’s in this documentation [the Lakes Conference guidelines],” said Lundgren. “I know that it’s been happening in other school systems, like Spirit Lake. The reason that I’m here is that my son was practicing wrestling with Mr. [Shawn] Schany’s son, and something arose where they were asked not to do that anymore. At that point, I met with Mr. Jurrens [high school principal] and asked why, and the reason given was that it was a Lakes Conference rule.”
Shawn Schany commented, “We have Little E’Hawks that practice two to three nights a week. I know from my experience that we wanted to get them in to get that extra training that a high school coach can give. I think ultimately it would help our programs grow as the years go by. Right now, our program numbers are down, but we have a lot of quality there.”
Lundgren added that currently there are eight wrestlers–between grades third and sixth–involved in the Little E’Hawk Wrestling Program. Lundgren asked Jerry Strand, athletic director for the Emmetsburg Community School District, what the Lakes Conference rules are.
“This rule was made a number of years ago to give kids an opportunity to play basketball the first half of the season and wrestling the second half. None of the other athletic directors in the Lakes Conference say that they allow any of the junior high kids to practice with the high school,” said Strand. “I called the state on it and they say it’s OK to have a split season. Some of the bigger schools have it more than the little schools. The only reason to have it is if the kids didn’t have any choice, but they have the Little E’Hawk Wrestling Program. The way it is now is the best for everyone.”
Board member Don Hagen agreed. “There is a total of seven seniors involved in winter sports this year. I’m not sure why there’s a void there. I think the reason our programs took a hit now is because we moved freshmen and sophomore a few years ago into the varsity ranks; I like to see grades stay together. It’s important that these kids have the opportunity to try both wrestling and basketball at the seventh and eighth grade levels. I like the idea of letting them experience both. I think it would be healthy for all the programs to keep it the way it is.”
“My concern is that we could be opening a can of worms for other activities if we allow this,” said Board President Karla Anderson. “I guarantee we’ll have parents in here for softball, basketball, and vocal too. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it could happen.”
Schany wondered if the board was truly looking out for what’s best for the kids or what would be most convenient.
“We were approached last year to have a dance team that we did not allow,” answered Hagen. “We felt we didn’t have the population to field another activity at the time, and we didn’t want to ruin our other programs. So, when you ask that question–if we’re doing what’s best for the kids or for us–we did it for the protection of the school, I think, and our consistent programs that we have.”
There being no further comment, the discussion was brought to a close.