Tuesday’s meeting of the Elk Grove Unified School District’s Board of Trustees led off with public comment on re-instatement of funding for freshman sports. From those who had spearheaded an email campaign over the past couple months asking for freshman-only teams at the high school level, they walked away encouraged that Trustees may tell staff to get frosh sports back into the athletic schedules.
“The meeting went pretty well,” John McAtee, a father of an incoming freshman athlete at Pleasant Grove, wrote in an email to the Citizen. “The Board was mostly unanimous that they wanted to get freshman sports back. (We are) not clear on the timing.”
When funding cutbacks caused Elk Grove Unified to eliminate freshman-only teams starting with the 2010-2011 school year, it began a rumbling amongst the sports community that it would cause long-term negative effects on the entire sports programs.
Locally, only Three Rivers Unified, Sacramento Unified and Elk Grove Unified schools lack freshman teams.
“Several board members I feel are ready to pull the trigger for the fall of next year,” McAtee wrote. “They are meeting next week to walk through broader budget (issues) and I believe could make the call. They also understand if they wait much longer puts the fall in jeopardy due to hiring and scheduling which needs to be done.”
EGUSD athletic director Jim Smrekar told the Citizen Thursday he’s awaiting direction from the board.
“Nothing is for sure at this point in time,” he said. “I should have more definitive information on both the budget and freshman sports by May 1.”
Earlier this month Smrekar mentioned that when cutbacks had to be placed on sports, thus causing the elimination of freshman teams, the plan would be that when money was more plentiful funding for varsity teams would be returned first and then the restoration of freshman sports would be considered next.
“There are capital outlays that have to be considered when bringing back freshman athletics,” Smrekar said. Not only will coaches have to be hired, but equipment and uniforms will also have to be purchased, he added.
One varsity football coach told the Citizen two weeks ago he was asked for an inventory of his equipment in case a frosh team would have to be formed this summer.
EGUSD Board Trustees Priscilla Cox and Jeanette Amavisca have not yet responded to an email asking for their comments on this issue.
McAtee and his fellow campaigners think now is the best time to bring back freshman teams because of league realignments throughout the Section that will occur this summer.
The Delta River League and Delta Valley Conference will be dissolved making way for the return of the Delta League. Elk Grove, Pleasant Grove, Sheldon, Monterey Trail and Franklin will join Davis, Grant and Jesuit/St.Francis in an eight-school super-league. Davis and Jesuit/St. Francis have freshman teams in just about every sport.
Laguna Creek will move to the Metro Conference alongside of Florin and Valley and the Sacramento City Unified schools. There are no freshman-only teams in that league.
When frosh teams were cut in 2010 only football, basketball, girls’ volleyball and baseball squads were affected, according to Smrekar.
“I believe the only sport where all nine high schools fielded a freshman team was in boys’ basketball,” Smrekar said.
Cosumnes Oaks, Franklin, Elk Grove, Sheldon and Pleasant Grove had freshman football squads.
Childs To Play For Indy-league St. Paul
Former Elk Grove High School catcher Dwight Childs is leaving Thursday for Minnesota to once again play for the St. Paul Saints in the independent-league American Association.
Now sporting a full beard, Childs beamed with the prospect of playing the summer for St. Paul, a team owned by Mike Veeck, son of former White Sox owner Bill Veeck, and comedian Bill Murray.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “It’s a great place to play. We pack out all our home games and many times have more fans than the Twins.”
So popular have the Saints become that the City of St. Paul is spending millions to build a new baseball stadium alongside the Mississippi River downtown. Currently, they play in 6,000-seat Midway Stadium.
Childs, who worked on pitching the past few months hoping to land a job with one of the MLB clubs, says he’s given up on that.
“I just want to catch,” he said. “If I have another good year, I might get signed by a (Major League) club.”
After being released a year ago by the Cleveland Indians, Childs signed with the Saints, hit .260 with nine home runs.
Norman Returning To Coach Laguna Creek Girls
Former Florin High School boys’ basketball coach Cody Norman has been hired to coach the girls’ squad at Laguna Creek, according to Cardinals’ athletic director Brian LoForte.
A Laguna Creek grad who played for coach Cecil Duke, Norman coached in the Cardinals’ boys’ program from 1997 to 2006 as a varsity assistant, head freshman coach and head junior varsity coach. He moved on to Florin to coach the varsity team for four seasons.
He moved on to Anza and coached at Hamilton High School in 2010-2011. The past two years he’s been the girls’ varsity coach at Manteca High School. In 2013, his team was 14-0 in the Valley Oaks League and was 21-7 overall.
“We are excited to bring Cody back to Laguna Creek High School,” LoForte wrote in his news release. “We think he gives us the best chance in turning this program around as we enter the Metro League in 14-15.”
Final DVC Golf Match Monday
Monterey Trail will host the fourth and final Delta Valley Conference boys’ golf match of the season Monday at Wild Hawk Golf Club.
In the team standings Franklin has moved in from of Elk Grove into second place behind front-runner Davis on the strength of a solid showing Tuesday at the third DVC match at Bartley Cavanaugh.
Wildcat golfers had a team total 402, 16 strokes behind Davis, but they bested Elk Grove by 11. Tyus Goring notched a 77 while Alex Duning had a 78 to lead Franklin.
Elk Grove’s Lane Walters and Mike Salewsky each fired a 77 to finish in a tied for third in the medalist standings. Davis’ Preston Walchli shot a two-under-par 70 to grab the top individual honor.
After three matches, Davis has a commanding 153-stroke lead over Franklin, but Elk Grove is just five strokes back.