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Troy trustees consider adding softball

| May 20, 2005 12:00 AM

By BRENT SHRUM Western News Reporter

The Troy School Board on Tuesday tabled a proposal to establish a softball program after hearing concerns that student numbers might not be enough to support three spring sports for girls.

A survey of students showed relatively high interest in softball, with 16 girls stating a desire to join a team if available. Superintendent Brady Selle recommended that the board approve softball as a program for next year.

Steve Prieve, who coaches tennis for Troy, told the board on Tuesday that the district lacks depth in both tennis and track, leading to forfeits and making it hard for Troy teams to compete.

Between tennis and track, there are only 19 girls currently involved in spring sports at Troy, Prieve said. Four of eight girls on the tennis team expressed an interest in playing softball, and if they were to leave the team it could turn tennis into a boys-only sport, he said.

"I'm not sure if a boys' program could survive without a girls' program," he said.

Some of the girls may think they can play two spring sports at the same time, but they may not realize the difficulty involved, Prieve said.

Board member Steve Garrett agreed. While there aren't any rules prohibiting it, "it's only practical" that athletes can only play one sport at a time, he said.

Garrett said he's afraid that another spring sport would result in low numbers for all three.

"Then we'd have a hard time trying to be competitive in anything," he said.

Selle said his hope is that softball would draw girls who aren't involved in tennis or track.

"I think the frustration is when we have 70-plus girls in the high school and only 19 of them are involved in spring sports," he said.

The school is required to have equal numbers of sports for boys and girls. But the state also looks at the proportion of boys and girls going out for sports, Selle said, and Troy boys have a higher rate of participation than girls. Softball could be a way to boost the number of girls involved in sports, he said.

"I truly believe there are enough girls to go around," he said.

Board member Scott Curry said some athletes may be able to participate in two sports, and it should be up to them and their coaches to decide if it will work.

"I don't want to limit our students just because we don't think they can do it," he said.

Garrett said he'd like to have more information on how many girls would still want to play softball if it meant they couldn't be on the tennis or track teams, along with projected numbers of girls who will be coming up from the lower grades over the next few years. Elementary principal Lance Pearson said raw student numbers don't ensure participation.

"I think what we really need to look at is how many girls are involved in sports," he said.

Board member Warren Fahner moved to table the issue until more information could be gathered, including cost estimates. The motion was seconded by Garrett, who said the track and tennis coaches should be involved in the discussion.

"If I were the coach, I would be very offended if someone did not include me if I were going to be impacted by it," he said.