Sargent wrestling program debate continues

MONTE VISTA—The decision of the Sargent School Board to eliminate the wrestling program is not being taken well by at least one passionate student. The board once again heard from the student on behalf of young men who want to have a program at their monthly meeting on Monday, Sept. 25.
“I have come to find out that there are a few students who also wanted a wrestling program. They asked me if we were going to have it and I informed them it failed. I asked them why they didn’t come to me and write a letter. They told me they didn’t want to do it because they thought it might not come to pass and would be a waste of time,” he said.
The student also used Center School District’s decision to cut their football team as an example of how losing the wrestling program may negatively impact Sargent School District. “Most of the players have come to play football over here. It has made our football team better in more than one way. They have tremendous talent...I got to thinking why are we going to lose potential athletes to another school and make their program better when we could have our own.”
The student also addressed some of the reasoning the school board gave for their decision to cut the program. One such reason was a belief a small team would not be able to compete in duals. “Duals are not an issue. Most of the teams in the Valley do not even have duals...Some of the big 4A and 5A schools don’t even have them,” stated the student.
Equipment is all ready and easily accessible according to the student.
Money is another issue the student stated should not be a concern to the school board. “The last year that we had a program we fund raised almost $5,000,” he said.
“I don’t understand why we don’t have a program. I just want to look at facts. If we were to have a wrestling program we would be bettering the athletics in the school. We would be building more integrity and character up and down the hallways. I’m asking the board to reconsider their votes because the facts are showing a wrestling program would make the school better.”

Board responds
“In hindsight, in my personal opinion, we as a board shouldn’t have even taken up this subject until we had a recommendation from the superintendent, high school principal and the athletic director. We shouldn’t really make those decisions until we see a recommendation... This board isn’t in a position to take up a new vote because it’s only seated for a couple more meetings. My recommendation is for you (the student) to take your concerns to the athletic director and have him make a recommendation to the new board. The discussion should start with the administration. They have to believe in it because ultimately they are the ones that have to be responsible... like everything in life there’s a process and we probably should have followed a different process,” said board Vice-President Eric Pfannenstiel.
“We have to have a strong support from the activities director, the superintendent and the principal in order for us to make the recommendation. At the time we took the vote all three were telling us that at that point in time they did not recommend the program to go forward because of participation and lack of numbers. That’s why it got the vote it got,” said Board President David Steinert.
“We also recommend that everyone comes together and develops a plan—all the guys that want to wrestle and other community members. The plan should include who the coaches are, schedule, money that can be raised. Bring it back to us,” said Steinert.

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